Responding to an increasingly unstable global political landscape, the chairman of Japan's socially engaged Nichiren Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai International (SGI), Daisaku Ikeda, issued a statement on Thursday calling on the leaders of the G7 countries to take the lead at the upcoming G7 summit to reinforce a global commitment to the “no first use” of nuclear weapons and to call for bold action to end hostilities in Ukraine.
G7 leaders are due to meet in Japan, which holds the G7 presidency this year, from May 19-21 for the G7 summit in Hiroshima in 2023. Leaders from eight countries outside the G7 framework and representatives from seven international organizations have been invited to attend the conference, which will focus, among other agenda items, on the war in Ukraine and the global food and climate crises. Japan also hopes to take the opportunity to discuss relations with emerging and developing economies, collectively known as the Global South.
"Mr. Ikeda, who has advocated for the abolition of nuclear weapons for more than 60 years, hopes that for G7 leaders, visiting Hiroshima and being exposed to the reality of the devastating humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons will awaken their determination to rid the world of these inhumane weapons,” the Soka Gakkai told BDG.
In his April 27 statement, which warns that the taboo against the use of nuclear weapons is being eroded among nuclear-weapon states and that frameworks for managing and reducing nuclear arsenals are on the brink of collapse, Ikeda notes: "As the G7 leaders revisit the real consequences of the detonation of a nuclear weapon and the bitter lessons of the nuclear age, I urge them to begin serious deliberations on taking no-first-use pledges so that their shared recognition of the unconscionable nature of nuclear weapons can find expression in changed policies.” (Soka Gakkai International)
On the crisis in Ukraine, the veteran peacemaker's statement stresses that the Hiroshima summit should provide a "prescription of hope" through a united resolution for an immediate cessation of attacks on civilian infrastructure and for developing concrete plans for negotiations to end all hostilities. . Ikeda also stresses that civil society representatives, such as doctors and educators, who protect people's lives and futures, should join the negotiations as observers.
“Since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the hibakusha* of these cities, in coordination with the broader civil society movement, have highlighted the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons; non-nuclear-weapon States engaged in continued diplomatic efforts; and States possessing nuclear weapons have exercised restraint. As a result, the world managed to maintain a 77-year record of non-use of nuclear weapons,” writes Ikeda. (Soka Gakkai International)
“It is said that the darker the night, the closer the dawn, and the end of the Cold War demonstrated the magnitude of the energy released when people who refuse to be defeated come together in solidarity” , observes Ikeda. “Today, in a political climate that some even call “a new cold war”, I ardently hope that constructive discussions that bring hope will be initiated at the G7 summit in Hiroshima. I would also like to declare: Now is the time! Let us once again change the course of history through the power of people, paving the way for a world free of nuclear weapons, a world free of war. (Soka Gakkai International)
Click here to read the full statement
Founded in 1930, the Soka Gakkai (the Value Creation Society) is a Japanese Buddhist movement based on the teachings of the 1222th century Buddhist priest Nichiren (1282-XNUMX). Nichiren taught devotion to the Lotus Sutra, said to contain the teachings of the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni, towards the end of his life, as the exclusive means of attaining enlightenment. The Soka Gakkai centers its teachings on Lotus Sutrawith recitation of the mantra Nam-myoho-renge-kyo(“Glory to the Dharma of the Lotus Sutra”) as the main devotional practice.
Soka Gakkai International, founded by Daisaku Ikeda in 1975, is an NGO in consultative status with the 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 American atomic bombings.