SGI Organizations Renew Call for Nuclear Abolition Commemorating 50th Anniversary of Antinuclear Declaration
Soka Gakkai International (SGI) organizations around the world have held events calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons, commemorating the 50th anniversary of second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda's call for the abolition of nuclear weapons.
Toda (1900-58) made his impassioned declaration, describing nuclear weapons as an absolute evil, in front of 50,000 young people at the Mitsuzawa stadium in Yokohama, Japan, on September 8, 1957, and this marked the start of Soka Gakkai's activities to promote peace.
On September 8, 2007, in New York City, 200 people joined a Civil Society Forum, "Abolishing Nuclear Weapons: What Can Each Of Us Do?" at the Cooper Union, cosponsored by SGI, Global Action to Prevent War and the World Federation of United Nations Associations. The panel of young speakers from organizations working for nuclear disarmament was chaired by Kathleen Sullivan, disarmament education consultant to the United Nations.
In his message to the forum, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda stressed, "It was human beings who gave rise to nuclear weapons. It cannot therefore be beyond the power of human wisdom to eliminate them." He called for a wave of dialogue toward abolition led by young people. Panelists echoed the need to engage people at the grassroots more widely.
Also on September 8, 300 youth members of SGI from 56 countries gathered for a peace conference in Yokohama where an SGI World Youth Peace Declaration was adopted. This includes a vow to work for nuclear disarmament and create a "culture of peace" as well as commitment to wide-ranging dialogue and cooperation with people of other faiths.
In Tokyo, the Soka Gakkai Women's Peace Committee hosted a "Culture of Peace Forum for Mothers and Children" on September 9 with 1,200 participants, from elementary school children to survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Singer and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Japan Agnes Chan performed and told the audience about children at risk from depleted uranium in Iraq following her recent visit there.
SGI-Denmark hosted a youth meeting on September 8 at which John Scales Avery, chair of the Danish Committee of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, stressed that the vast majority of the world's people have said "no" to nuclear weapons, and at SGI-UK's South London National Centre in Brixton, a multimedia exhibition "LIFE--truth, justice, dignity" calling for nuclear abolition was opened by Prof. Robert Hinde, chair of Pugwash UK.
A new global SGI antinuclear exhibition, "From a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace: Transforming the Human Spirit," has also been launched in several locations around the world. It includes sections on "Arms-based Security vs. Human Security" and "Changing Our Worldview," and facts on global efforts to control and eliminate nuclear weapons.
The exhibition was first shown at the New Zealand Parliament's "Beehive" building in Wellington on August 9, hosted by SGI-New Zealand and the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Former UN Under-Secretary-General Anwarul K. Chowdhury spoke at the launch.
Malaysian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Seri Syed Hamid bin Syed Jaafar Albar, opened the exhibition on 2 September, 2007 at the Soka Gakkai Malaysia (SGM) Wisma Kebudayaan in Kuala Lumpur. The showing was cosponsored by SGM and Physicians for Peace and Social Responsibility (PPSR), an affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW).
Soka Gakkai International is a lay Buddhist association with 12 million members around the world whose activities to promote peace, culture and education are based on the longstanding traditions of Buddhist humanism. The organization has consistently worked for nuclear abolition, holding exhibitions and signature gathering campaigns and recording the accounts of those who experienced the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Source: Soka Gakkai International
Contact: Joan Anderson
Office of Public Information