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Tokyo, Japan: In response to the accelerating threat of nuclear weapons proliferation, Buddhist leader Daisaku Ikeda has called for renewed efforts for disarmament. In his annual Peace Proposal, issued on January 26, the president of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) urges a new global movement for nuclear disarmament and abolition and echoes the call of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission (the Blix Commission) for a global summit on disarmament.
Achieving nuclear abolition, says Ikeda, will require a fundamental reorientation in our values, an awakening within individuals to become what the U.S. author Norman Cousins called "species-conscious." Without such a change, Ikeda states, "it will be difficult in the extreme to extract ourselves from the quagmire logic of deterrence, based on mistrust, suspicion and fear."
Ikeda cites the declaration made by Josei Toda, second president of the Soka Gakkai, 50 years ago in 1957, calling for the banning of all nuclear weapons. Toda's declaration was based on the Buddhist perspective which sees nuclear weapons as the ultimate embodiment of the aggressive and destructive potential inherent in human life. "Toda's penetrating insight exposed the essence of these apocalyptic weapons whose extreme destructiveness and lethality could put an end to human civilization and to humankind's continued survival as a species."
Because the threat of nuclear weapons is one that impacts all people, efforts to resolve it cannot be left to governments: grassroots efforts to raise public awareness globally are vital. To this end, Ikeda renews his call for the adoption of a UN decade of action by the world's people for nuclear abolition.
related article Survey of Youth Attitudes to Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Power The Soka Gakkai Chugoku Student Peace Committee released on August 4 the results of its 16th annual survey on young people's attitudes to peace and nuclear weapons in the Hiroshima region, in advance of the August 6 anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city. Recalling the enormous suffering inflicted by Japan on the people of Asia in World War II, Ikeda has been a consistent advocate of better relations between Japan and its neighbors, in particular China. He proposes a ten-year program to enhance friendship between China and Japan to begin in 2008, with the Olympic Games in Beijing. Each year would feature individual themes--for example a year of cooperation for energy, a year of cooperation for environmental protection, etc.
Ikeda continues to urge greater integration in Asia, and the eventual creation of an Asian Union. Toward that end, he proposes the establishment of an East Asian environment and development organization. Such a body would deal with pressing region-wide issues related to the achievement of sustainable development while simultaneously providing a model for cooperation on other issues, strengthening momentum toward integration.
Soka Gakkai International is a lay Buddhist movement with 12 million members in 190 countries and territories around the world. Its activities to promote peace, culture and education are part of the longstanding tradition of Buddhist humanism. Daisaku Ikeda became president of the SGI on its founding in Guam on January 26, 1975, and since 1983 has issued peace proposals annually on that date.
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