In the face of moves to amend the postwar Constitution, about 500 people gathered in Tokyo on Saturday to promote the importance of maintaining its pacifistic ideals.

At the outset of the gathering, sponsored by the pro-constitutional Article 9 Association, Yasuhiro Okudaira, a professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo, told the crowd that although a state has the authority to wage war and withhold information, constitutions exist to act as a brake on government power.

Turning to the administration-proposed secrecy protection bill now being debated in the Diet, Okudaira said that if enacted it will prevent people from debating the nation's diplomatic or security policies by denying them necessary information.