"Tokyo has relaxed a decades-old ban on arms exports, opening the way for Japanese companies to participate in the international development and manufacture of advanced weapon systems."
This is clearly a move to bolster the country's manufacturing sector and avoid current account deficits, as China's economy has slowed down.
It appears that Japan's economic and budgetary problems are beginning to break down domestic resistance to significant policy changes. Further major changes are likely, although the timing is difficult to predict.
There is still internal resistance to increasing taxes to help with the national budget:
DPJ members bolt party on Noda tax plan | The Japan Times Online
"In a show of defiance against Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's policies, in particular a plan to raise the consumption tax, nine Democratic Party of Japan lawmakers submitted their resignations Wednesday to protest Noda's leadership."
Entering a new market, however distasteful, appears to be more appealing to the Japanese public than increased taxes.