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Tokyo, Japan: A series of events to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II and boost popular awareness of peace issues is being organized by the Soka Gakkai around Japan.
The need for such initiatives is highlighted by a survey undertaken earlier this year by the Soka Gakkai young women's peace committee which indicated that many young Japanese, especially those under 20, have little understanding of the reality of war and foresee a higher possibility of Japan's future involvement in war than older generations.
Highlights include the following:
Yokohama: An Intergenerational Culture of Peace Forum sponsored by the women's peace committee of the Soka Gakkai will be held from 1.30 pm on Saturday July 30 at the organization's Kanagawa Culture Center in Yokohama. The aim is to enable young people to hear direct experiences from speakers affected by war. A panel discussion on creating peace will feature Ms. Yukie Osa, former secretary-general of the Association to Aid Refugees, Japan and member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines Coordinating Committee, and other activists. An exhibition of paintings depicting the Battle of Okinawa is also on display at the adjacent Toda Peace Memorial Hall.
Hiroshima: Prof. M.S. Swaminathan, pioneering agronomist of India's "Green Revolution" and current president of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, will speak on "The Status of Human Security: 60 Years after the Atomic Bombs." Monday July 25, 7 pm at the Ikeda Peace Center in Hiroshima. This talk is sponsored by the regional Soka Gakkai youth group.
Hiroshima: July 30, jazz legends Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter will perform as part of a World Youth Peace Music Festival at Hiroshima Central Park from 6 pm. Also featured will be Korean drum and Chinese classical harp performances. Sponsored by the City of Hiroshima, Chugoku Shimbun, RCC Broadcasting Company and other regional television and radio stations. Planned and promoted by RCC Frontier and the Soka Gakkai.
War testimonials: Building on earlier projects to collect and publish records of women's experiences of war, Soka Gakkai women members across Japan are video-recording war testimonials to document the reality of war and counteract efforts to sanitize or glorify armed conflict. (In addition to 20 volumes in Japanese, Women Against War, a selection of 40 wartime experiences, has been published in English. In the 1970s, the Soka Gakkai youth division also published over one thousand wartime accounts in 80 volumes, and this year saw the reissue of two English language volumes: Peace is Our Duty and Cries for Peace.)
related article Soka Gakkai Japan and Singapore Soka Association Contribute to Myanmar Cyclone Relief Soka Gakkai General Director Masaaki Masaki visited the Tokyo office of the UNHCR to make a donation of 3 million yen (US$28,800) in support of relief efforts following the cyclone in Myanmar. Publication: The results of the survey on attitudes to war and peace conducted by the Soka Gakkai young women's peace committee have been published together with ideas for action toward peace in a book entitled Peace Step.
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