SEALDs, short for , is a student activist organisation in Japan that organises protests against the ruling coalition headed by Prime Minister Shinzō Abe who advocate a set of security-related bills that would reinterpret the Constitution and allow the Japanese Self-Defense Force to be deployed overseas.
Most of the core members of the SEALDs were involved with the predecessor movement Students Against Secret Protection Law (SASPL) that protested Shinzo Abe's Special Secrecy Law from February to December 2014. With the secrecy law being passed, the members went on to form SEALDs on May 3, 2015, Constitution Memorial Day in Japan, to highlight what they believed was Shinzo Abe's blatant disregard of the constitution. They were especially worried that the Abe cabinet, which enjoyed a majority in the National Diet, would railroad their legislation to reinterpret Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution allowing Japan to exercise the right of collective self-defence and potentially send troops on foreign soil. ( Such legislation was passed on September 19, 2015.)
On August 30, 2015, the SEALDs was among the tens of thousands of protesters to surround the National Diet Building in Tokyo, with estimates of the crowd ranging from 30,000 to 120,000. Such a large student movement had not emerged in Japan since the anti-war protests of the 1960s, which forced Shinzo Abe's grandfather Nobusuke Kishi to resign as prime minister. In contrast to the Zengakuren whose radicalism eventually alienated the public in the 1960s, the SEALDs were described to be moderate and non-partisan.
SEALDs has caught on to students around Japan, and branches of SEALDs have sprung up in various places around the country. In the west, SEALDs KANSAI was established in May 2015. In the north based in Sendai, SEALDs TOHOKU was born on July 20th the same year. In subsequent months, SEALDs RYUKYU was created on August 15th to represent Okinawa, and SEALDs TOKAI in Nagoya on September 7th.
On March 29th, 2016 the security laws were enacted, but the day before SEALDs organised a protest in front of the National Diet. The following day, their protests were joined by others and once again the Diet was surrounded by people.
SEALDs activities range from holding demonstrations, protest rallies and marches, organizing study groups and talk events, to creating booklets, pamphlets and videos, using social media effectively. They are also seen to fly around the country to support various movements and candidates, such as the ongoing protest in Okinawa against the US military base and the Hokkaido by elections in April 2016.
On August 15, 2016, one month after the LDP won a supermajority in the Upper House election, SEALDs disbanded with co-founder Aki Okuda stating that the campaign is not over and urges all of Japan's politicians to continue to protect constitutionalism.