Improved China-Japan Relations Vital, Six-Party Summit on North Korea Needed--SGI President Issues Annual Peace Proposal
Tokyo, Japan: In his annual peace proposal issued today, SGI (Soka Gakkai International) President Daisaku Ikeda calls for improved relations between China and Japan. He also calls for a summit-level meeting of all the states currently participating in the Six-Party Talks on the issue of North Korean nuclear disarmament.
Ikeda was one of the first Japanese to call, in 1968, for the normalization of Sino-Japanese relations. Echoing his message at that time, that improved China-Japan relations hold the key to peace in Asia, and citing encounters since then with top-level Chinese leaders committed to the same vision, Ikeda urges a renewal of efforts to build friendship between the two Asian neighbors. This will require serious political efforts rooted in a long-term perspective. At the same time, Ikeda stresses that cultural and educational exchanges among people, especially youth and students, can build bonds that transcend and outlast changes on the political level.
On North Korean nuclear arms development, Ikeda notes the importance of the joint statement from the fourth round of the Six-Party Talks, issued in September 2005. In this statement, North Korea commits "to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and returning, at an early date, to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and to IAEA safeguards" and the US affirms that "it has no nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula and has no intention to attack or invade the DPRK with nuclear or conventional weapons." This finally sets the stage for the start of meaningful negotiations. A summit-level meeting of all six parties, with representation of the UN and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and dedicated to removing obstacles to substantive progress, could, Ikeda suggests, jump-start the process of peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, giving it irreversible momentum.
Ikeda also calls for increased global efforts in disarmament education and human rights education. Specifically, he proposes that human rights education be made a standing agenda item to be debated at all sessions of the soon-to-be established UN Human Rights Council. Ikeda's stress on the "soft power" of people's consciousness reflects the perspective of Buddhist humanism, and he states, "A transformation in the inner life of a single individual can spur and encourage similar changes in others... I am confident that this kind of 'people's power' has the potential to accelerate efforts for disarmament and bring to full flower a global culture of peace."
Since 1983, Daisaku Ikeda has written an annual proposal on issues of peace and human security. These are released on January 26, commemorating the founding of the SGI in 1975. SGI is a lay Buddhist association with 12 million members in 190 countries and territories.