This chapter investigates the factors that led the Japanese government to relax the arms trade ban policy, a symbol of Japan’s anti-militarism, in 2011 and then introduced a new policy in 2014. Thanks to the relaxation of the ban and the subsequent new policy, it became much less cumbersome for Japan to export defence equipment and to participate in joint military research and development programmes with other states. These changes enabled Japan to position itself as part of a like-minded group and to contribute to global peace and stability through the provision of defence equipment. Although these changes did not follow promptly from a change in the domestic political landscape, the chapter argues that the time lag was caused by ‘path dependence’, whereby actors tend to depend on a well-trodden path unless there is an urgent need for change.