Addressing a conservative group in New York Wednesday, Abe said he is pushing to increase Japan's military power because "in this age, everything is connected."
"Outer space has no borders," he said. "Chemical weapons transcend borders. My country cannot be the weak link in the chain."
China has criticized Abe's push to give Japan a more active military role after decades of avoiding any international involvement by its armed forces. In his speech, without mentioning China, Abe said his critics can call him a "right-wing militarist" if they want.
Abe delivered the remarks during an event at which he became the first non-U.S. citizen to receive the Herman Kahn Award, created by the Hudson Institute to honor the futurist and military strategist, The Wall Street Journal reported.
During an appearance Thursday at the New York Stock Exchange, Abe argued Japan is poised for an economic comeback.
He compared Japan to the fictional Gordon Gekko, who made a comeback in the Oliver Stone film "Money Never Sleeps," years after he was convicted of insider trading in Stone's Oscar-winning "Wall Street."
"To paraphrase Gordon Gekko, 'How are we going to revive the global economy? Well, I'll tell you. Three words: 'Buy my Abenomics!' The Wall Street is always ahead of the curve. In light of that, now is your chance," he said.
In another pop-culture reference, Abe compared Japan to Mariano Rivera, who was about to pitch his last game at Yankee Stadium after 19 years with the Yankees.