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TOKYO — Some of Japan’s most prominent actors, directors and other film executives have united to protest against the country’s new state secrets protection law that went into effect on Thursday.

A group calling itself the Committee of Film Professionals Opposing the Secret Information Protection Act (Tokutei Himitsu Hogoho ni Hantai Suru Eigajin no Kai), which includes directors Yoji Yamada, Isao Takahata, Sumiko Haneda, Yasuo Furuhata, actresses Shinobu Otake and Sayuri Yoshinaga and producer Jiro Shindo, issued a statement on Wednesday claiming that the law will “threaten freedom of expression” and “take away the right to know.”

Organizations and groups representing journalists, lawyers, broadcast workers and other professionals have issued similar statements opposing the law, which gives government bodies great latitude to classify information as state secrets, while levying punishments on those who leak such secrets to the public. 

The film group also expressed concern that the law might encourage a return to the sort of nationalism and militarism that led Japan into a disastrous war more than seven decades ago.

“Seeing the remorse of our seniors in the film world who were forced to praise war against their will, we will never support the making of films that again stir up war sentiment,” the statement said.