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Soka Gakkai President Urges Nuclear States to Commit to “No First Use” of Nuclear Arms

The Memorial Cenotaph at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. From sgi-peace.org

The president of the socially engaged Japanese Nichiren Buddhist organization the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), Daisaku Ikeda, on Tuesday issued a statement urging all nuclear states to make a firm pledge never to be the first party to resort to a nuclear strike in any conflict. 

“Today, in light of international tensions and the heightened risk that nuclear weapons might actually be used, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda has issued a statement in advance of the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) Review Conference that opens in New York on 1 August, calling for the nuclear-weapon states to commit to “No First Use” of nuclear weapons,” SGI official Joan Anderson told BDG from Tokyo.

“Mr. Ikeda stresses that the principle of ‘No First Use’ is a crucial first step to break away from the current nuclear deterrence policy and prevent nuclear war,” Anderson told BDG. “In his statement, he makes an emergency proposal for not only nuclear-weapon states but all the states possessing nuclear weapons and nuclear-dependent states to commit to the principle of ‘No First Use’ and to include their commitments in the Final Document of the NPT Review Conference. He insists that now is the time to shift to a new security paradigm, heeding the voices of hibakusha* from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as all victims impacted by the development and testing of nuclear weapons.”

Ikeda’s statement proposes that the following points be included in the Final Document of the Review Conference that starts on Monday: 

• That the five nuclear-weapon states pledge to continue to abide by their January Joint Statement, immediately pursuing measures to reduce the risks posed by nuclear weapons in accord with their Article VI nuclear disarmament commitments. 

• That the five nuclear-weapon states, as a matter of highest priority, declare their commitment to the principle of No First Use at the earliest possible date. 

• That in order to give concrete form to the joint statement’s declaration that “none of our nuclear weapons are targeted at each other or at any other State,” the principle of No First Use be universalized as the security policy of all states possessing nuclear weapons as well as the nuclear-dependent states. (Soka Gakkai International)

SGI president Daisaku Ikeda. Image courtesy of the SGI

“Today, the risk that nuclear weapons will be used is at its highest level since the Cold War,” the SGI said in a statement released this week. “Ikeda, a passionate campaigner for nuclear abolition for over 60 years, urges the five nuclear-weapon states under the NPT—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—to give substance to a joint statement made by their leaders on 3 January 2022 that ‘a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,’ by declaring policies of No First Use.”

The SGI plans to hold an event on 4 August, on the sidelines of the NPT Review Conference, to promote “No First Use” together with other like-minded organizations. 

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is a memorial to Hiroshima’s legacy as the first city in the world to suffer a nuclear attack. From sgi-peace.org

“Seventy-seven years have passed since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” Ikeda observed in his statement. “Not only is there a lack of any concrete progress toward nuclear weapons abolition, but the risk that nuclear weapons will actually be used has risen to the highest level since the end of the Cold War. Nuclear weapons must never be used, and it is imperative that effective measures be taken to prevent this dire eventuality. . . .

“[Therefore] it is crucial that we learn from the example of the world’s hibakusha—the victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings and all those impacted by the development and testing of nuclear weapons—who have continued to give voice to the determination that no one anywhere should suffer what they have endured.” (Soka Gakkai International)

Founded in 1930, the Soka Gakkai (the Value Creation Society) is a Japanese Buddhist movement based on the teachings of the 13th century Buddhist priest Nichiren (1222–­82). Nichiren taught devotion to the Lotus Sutra, believed to contain the teachings of the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni, toward the end of his life, as the exclusive means to attain enlightenment. Soka Gakkai centers its teachings on the Lotus Sutra, with recitation of the mantra “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” (“Glory to the Dharma of the Lotus Sutra”) as its main devotional practice.

The Soka Gakkai International, founded by Daisaku Ikeda in 1975, is an NGO with consultative status to UN ECOSOC. As a global community-based Buddhist organization that promotes peace, culture, and education based on respect for the dignity of life, the Soka Gakkai is involved in peace activism, education, and politics, with members in 192 countries and territories around the world.

* Survivors of the US atomic bombings.

See more

Daisaku Ikeda
Soka Gakkai
Soka Gakkai International – USA
Statement to 2022 NPT Review Conference (Soka Gakkai International)

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