SGI Representative Shares Insights on Citizen Diplomacy and Sino-Japanese Relations at Seminar in Norway




Dr. Tønnesson and Mr. KawaiDr. Tønnesson (left) and Mr. Kawai

On August 26, SGI Peace Affairs Program Director Kimiaki Kawai was one of two speakers at an international seminar titled “Sino-Japanese Relations: Paths Towards a De-Escalation of Conflict.” The seminar was co-organized by the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and the Norwegian Peace Association and was held at PRIO in Oslo, Norway. The other speaker was Stein Tønnesson, a research professor at PRIO and a professor at Uppsala University’s Department of Peace and Conflict Research.

The seminar brought together 20 peace researchers, scholars and civil society activists.

Speaking on the role of citizen diplomacy in the restoration of diplomatic relations between Japan and China, Mr. Kawai focused on how the Soka Gakkai under the leadership of Daisaku Ikeda contributed to the creation and promotion of amicable relations in the post-World War II era leading up to the reestablishment of formal ties between the two countries in 1972. 

related article SGI-USA Cohosts Martin Luther King Jr. Day Events in Santa Monica SGI-USA Cohosts Martin Luther King Jr. Day Events in Santa Monica SGI-USA celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 20 with a festival themed "Unity in Community." SGI-USA cohosted the festival, held at its World Peace Ikeda Auditorium in Santa Monica, California, together with The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition and others including the City of Santa Monica and Santa Monica College Associates. Mr. Kawai especially highlighted Mr. Ikeda’s 1968 Proposal for Normalization of Sino-Japanese Relations that helped establish the groundwork for a series of political-level exchanges between the two countries; the contributions of the cultural exchanges and exhibitions held by the SGI-affiliated Min-On Concert Association and the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum, both founded by Mr. Ikeda, to the promotion of mutual understanding; and the 1985 agreement for annual exchanges between Soka Gakkai youth and youth of the All-China Youth Federation (ACYF) that has facilitated the development of friendship among the youth of the two countries.

Quoting Mr. Ikeda’s speech at Peking University in 1990 in which he said, “Political and economic exchange will be important, but the ties joining the hearts of the peoples of both countries are even more so . . . ,” Mr. Kawai concluded that such cultural and educational exchanges at the grassroots level made an invaluable contribution to the mutual security of both countries.

In his speech, Dr. Tønnesson examined the reasons for the rise of the current tensions in East Asia, especially those between China and Japan. He emphasized the need for a better understanding of the International Law of the Sea and the need to work toward a consensus to ease tensions in the area.

Participants also exchanged views and ideas with regard to the current situation in Northeast Asia.

[Adapted a report from SGI Office of Public Information (SGI-OPI) and an article in the August 30, 2014, issue of Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photo courtesy of SGI-OPI]

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