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Hundreds rally, march in Tokyo to protest push to amend Japan's pacifist constitution

Hundreds of Japanese, young and old, gathered in downtown Tokyo in a peaceful protest against calls by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to amend the country's pacifist constitution and give the government more power to abridge civil liberties.

Opposition parties, labor groups, religious organizations and individuals turned out Friday to march from a park near the Imperial Palace through the Ginza shopping district, beating drums and chanting their opposition to such moves by Abe and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Supporters of amending the constitution want to change the requirement that constitutional amendments win two-thirds approval in both houses of parliament before they are put to a national referendum. They want that changed to simple majority approvals in parliament.

Opponents say such changes could allow the government to undermine civil liberties.