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Inside Japan's controversial push to become a drone superpower

Japan is surging ahead with plans to seriously increase its drone fleet in the face of its ongoing territorial disputes with China and a typically difficult North Korea. The country, which until recently had an exceptionally restrictive section of its constitution that limited any belligerence, will increase its investment in UAVs by 300 percent.

The United States currently has two Global Hawk long-range UAVs (one of which is shown above) in the island nation, while Japan plans on adding three more of its own to the tally. The new drones, which would be built as part of a decade-long surge, will be joined by UAVs meant to sniff out missiles that could be coming from the DPRK.

This isn't troubling in and of itself, although based on comments made in the Japanese media and by politicians, the country's drone investment has its share of critics. One politician called the drone surge "a kind of pre-war revival," while one protester immolated himself late last month in opposition to the hawkish rhetoric of Prime Minister Shinzō Abe.

Defense One has an excellent recap of Japan's drone buildup, as well as details on the growing opposition to the move both at home and abroad. Head over and a have a peek.

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