By MARI YAMAGUCHI
TOKYO (AP) — Japan has set a new target for military spending over the next five years to $318 billion, or 1.5 times the current level, as the country seeks defense buildup including the use of preemptive strike. The defense minister said he and the finance minister were instructed by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Monday to work on a budget plan to increase Japan’s 2023-2027 military spending by more than 50%. He said the planned increase is “to firmly secure the necessities to pursue substantial reinforcement” of Japan’s defense. The government is currently finalizing a revision of its national security strategy to allow the use of preemptive strikes in a major shift to Japan’s self-defense-only postwar principle. Critics say it could violate the pacifist constitution.