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Tokyo, Japan: Daisaku Ikeda, president of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) Buddhist association, issued a proposal Sept. 8 outlining concrete steps toward the abolition of nuclear weapons. A vocal opponent of these inhumane weapons for more than 50 years, he stresses that we now have a unique opportunity to build grassroots solidarity, propel political processes and break out of the stagnation which has dogged nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation efforts.
Ikeda targets the double standards operating in the world today regarding possession of nuclear weapons and states that no rational arguments for their retention remain.
In order to build peace and stability in Northeast Asia, he urges that all countries involved in the six-party talks concerning North Korea's nuclear weapons development program declare Northeast Asia a nuclear non-use region, with the goal of making it a nuclear-weapon-free zone.
Ikeda's proposal, titled "Building Global Solidarity Toward Nuclear Abolition," outlines five key steps to be taken over the next five years:
1. The five declared nuclear-weapon states to announce their commitment to a shared vision of a world without nuclear weapons at next year's NPT Review Conference and to promptly initiate concrete steps toward its achievement.
2. The United Nations to establish a panel of experts on nuclear abolition, strengthening collaborative relations with civil society in the disarmament process.
3. The states parties to the NPT to strengthen nonproliferation mechanisms and remove obstacles to the elimination of nuclear weapons by the year 2015.
4. All states to actively cooperate to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in national security and to advance on a global scale toward the establishment of security arrangements that are not dependent on nuclear weapons by the year 2015.
5. The world's people to clearly manifest their will for the outlawing of nuclear weapons and to establish, by the year 2015, the international norm that will serve as the foundation for a Nuclear Weapons Convention.
Ikeda's proposal will be presented on Sept. 10 at an event during the upcoming Annual UN Department of Public Information/NGO Conference in Mexico City. The conference aims to build momentum toward the 2010 NPT Review Conference which offers a critical opportunity for progress toward nuclear abolition.
In 2006, Ikeda issued a proposal on UN reform, stressing that only a groundswell of public opinion against nuclear weapons will ultimately compel governments to act. In 2007, SGI launched the "People's Decade for Nuclear Abolition" and intensified its awareness-raising efforts, in partnership with other NGOs.
Ikeda states that ultimately, the struggle against nuclear weapons is a moral one, commenting: "…to put the era of nuclear terror behind us, we must struggle against the real 'enemy.' That enemy is not nuclear weapons per se, nor the states that possess or develop them. The real enemy that we must confront is the ways of thinking that justify nuclear weapons; the readiness to annihilate others when they are seen as a threat or a hindrance to the realization of our objectives."
Daisaku Ikeda is president of the Soka Gakkai International lay Buddhist association, an international network with 12 million members whose activities to promote a culture of peace are based on the longstanding principles of Buddhist humanism.
For information about SGI's antinuclear activities, see: http://www.sgi.org/assets/pdf/SGI_NGO_AR_2009.pdf
For the People's Decade for Nuclear Abolition campaign, SGI has created educational resources including the "Testimonies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Women Speak Out for Peace" multi-language DVD. See: http://www.peoplesdecade.org
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