Communist North Korea accused Japan on Wednesday of gearing up for war as Tokyo pressed the UN Security Council to punish Pyongyang for its nuclear test.
Japanese "reactionaries" are preparing to upgrade the Defence Agency into a ministry and set up a "strategic planning office" inside the agency, the government newspaper Minju Joson said in a commentary.
"This is nothing but moves to convert Japan into a military power and round off the preparations for a war of aggression overseas," said the commentary carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.
The paper said the United States, its other arch-enemy, plans to use Japanese forces "as a shock brigade in executing its strategy to dominate the Asia-Pacific".
Japan, it said, "is set to give the green light to reinvasion as its armed forces have been bolstered up qualitatively and fully ready to go into war action."
Japan occupied the Korean peninsula from 1910 until its World War II defeat in 1945, after which it accepted a US-drafted pacifist Constitution.
A draft new Constitution would preserve Japan's official pacifism but acknowledge it has a military -- and not the "Self-Defence Forces" as they are currently known.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called on Wednesday for painful sanctions on North Korea even if its declared nuclear test on Monday turned out to have been a failure.