This paper examines two significant changes in Japan following the August 1998 North Korean missile incident. The first is in the realm of defense, where adjustments such as the revisions to the U.S-Japan alliance, additions to Japans military hardware (especially in the area of air defense), and the revivalism of the debate to revise the Peace Constitution are discussed. The second involves a shift in the sentiments of Japanese society. The general populace became more critical of the pacifist nature that Japan had adopted since the postwar years, and instead became more accommodative to a strengthened defense posture and an enhanced political role for the Self-Defense Force (SDF). Such changes in public opinion can be observed through the Japanese people’s reactions to the possibility of the country’s Peace Constitution undergoing revision, the government’s actions of strengthening the defense posture, and the subsequent legalization of the Hinomaru (national flag) and Kimigayo (national anthem) as national symbols. The changes in these two broad areas, as this paper will demonstrate, point to Japan becoming more of a “normal” state.