Dozens of citizen groups behind the Diet rallies against the new security laws said Thursday they will try to collect 20 million signatures — around a sixth of Japan's population — by May 3 to demand action.

"Such activities have traditionally been conducted separately by each group. A large-scale one using a common signature list has never been done," Ken Takada, one of the organizers of the rallies, told a news conference in Tokyo.

The petition to abolish the divisive laws, which many claim are unconstitutional, was launched after the groups organized several mass protests that drew tens of thousands of people to the legislature. The Diet nevertheless enacted the laws on Sept. 19 after steamrolling the opposition parties.

The laws allow Japan to engage in collective self-defense, or coming to the aid of an ally under armed attack, even if Japan itself is not attacked, ending Tokyo's pacifist security policy, which was based on Article 9 of the Constitution.

A total of 29 groups, including Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy (SEALDs) and Mothers Against War, will start collecting signatures on Nov. 3.

They also plan to continue holding their rallies around the Diet on the 19th of each month and support lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the legislation.

SEALDs has gained prominence in the growing popular protest movement but is expected to disband after the House of Councilors election next year.

The group is urging the opposition parties to form a united front against the ruling coalition led by the conservative Liberal Democratic Party.