The ruling party endorsed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's call to remove a 1 percent psychological cap on defense spending against gross domestic product that has been in place since the 1970s.

In line with the more ambitious spending policy, Abe's Liberal Democratic Party on May 25 also gave its blessing to refit the helicopter carrier Izumo into a full-fledged aircraft carrier.

The LDP’s new position on spending adds yet another dimension to moves by Abe to radically alter Japan’s longstanding exclusively defense-oriented policy.

The proposal was aired ahead of government efforts to outline new National Defense Program Guidelines and Mid-Term Defense Program by the year-end.

It noted that Japan “faces its biggest crisis in the postwar period,” a clear reference to North Korea's nuclear and missile programs and China's growing maritime presence in the region.

The introduction of an aircraft carrier with multiple uses would be a valuable boon to Maritime Self-Defense Force operations, officials said.

Among other proposals mooted were Japan gaining the capability to attack missile bases in hostile countries and to possess cruise missiles.

The LDP also backed calls for Japan to have a stronger presence in space and cyber technology in addition to upgrading the capabilities of the ground, maritime and air self-defense forces.

The new vision would replace the existing program known as the dynamic joint defense force.

With regard to the proposal to have the capability to strike missile bases, the LDP said it was “based on the concept that clearly separates action from a pre-emptive attack that is not allowed under the Constitution and international law.”

A report on the proposals will be submitted to Abe after the party officially approves it, perhaps as early as next week.

Japan’s defense spending has mostly stayed within 1 percent of GDP since the late 1970s.

But the LDP called for it to be scrapped, citing NATO’s 2 percent target for member nations.

The LDP is also pushing for the spending ceiling to be removed in light of Abe’s remark in the Diet in March 2017 that he will not necessarily stick to the 1 percent threshold.