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Student group holds protest against security laws ahead of March 29 enforcement

Student activist Aki Okuda shouts into a microphone during a protest in front of the National Diet Building in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward, on March 28, 2016. (Mainichi)

A group of students opposing Japan's new security laws held a protest in front of the National Diet Building on the night of March 28 ahead of the legislation coming into force the following day.

    Aki Okuda, 23, one of the core members of the "Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy-s" (SEALDs), addressed a large crowd gathered in Tokyo's Nagatacho district, saying, "We want Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe to thoroughly explain what the laws are for and how they are used now that they are going into effect." He added, "We haven't forgotten about this at all."

    High school students who also delivered speeches at the protest said they were frustrated that the legislation was going to be enforced.

    A 19-year-old university student from Yokohama told the Mainichi Shimbun, "These laws lead to war. I won't accept Japan's exercising of the right to collective self-defense."

    Prior to the protest by SEALDs, other citizens' groups against the security legislation held sit-ins in front of the Diet members' office buildings on the afternoon of March 28.

    A 68-year-old woman from the Tokyo suburban city of Inagi said she lost her relative in a military suicide attack in the Pacific War.

    "Young people's lives get sacrificed in war," she argued. "We cannot lose them as they are our country's treasures."

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