Having survived a devastating U.S. air raid on his hometown in World War II, film director Isao Takahata has firsthand experience of the horrors of war. It's perhaps not surprising, therefore, that he staunchly opposes Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's attempt to push controversial security bills through the Diet.

There is an ancient Roman proverb, Takahata says during an interview at Studio Ghibli in Tokyo's Koganei neighborhood: "If you want peace, prepare for war."

Takahata, one of the country's most influential animation filmmakers and co-founder of Studio Ghibli, says he prefers French poet Jacques Prevert's 1953 version: "If you don't want war, repair peace."