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Daisaku Ikeda's Peace Proposal for 2019

PROHIBITION / The world's largest Buddhist peace movement supports the initiative to ban the development and use of autonomous weapons and proposes to establish a group of friends for the ban on nuclear weapons.


Since 1960, Japanese Daisaku Ikeda has led the Soka Gakkai Movement (SGI), the world's largest Buddhist peace movement. The organization has its roots in Japan, but is currently active worldwide. Since the atomic bombs fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan's nuclear weapons resistance has been great. That Soka Gakkai is one of the original partners in the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is quite natural. Resistance to nuclear weapons in Japan lies decades ahead of nuclear resistance in the West. When ICAN launched its campaign to ban nuclear weapons in 2007, the Soka Gakkai movement simultaneously marked the 50 year anniversary for its anti-nuclear weapons declaration that Ikeda's teacher and predecessor Josei Toda presented in 1957.

Ikeda's lyrics always give me hope that we have the power to change ours
own society, and that peace is possible. ”Anna Ikeda

It is Buddhism's mindset and values ​​that have guided the peace work of the Soka Gakkai movement, something Toda pointed out in his anti-nuclear weapons declaration: "Although the movement against nuclear weapons has spread around the world, it is my wish to go ahead and tackle this problem at the root . I want to expose the claws hidden in the depths of such weapons and tear them out. […] For we, the citizens of the world, have an inviolable right to live, "Toda said in her speech.


It is the month of March, and Ny Tid meets Anna Ikeda in Geneva. She works with disarmament in Soka Gakkai International. Anna says that Ikeda is a common surname in Japan, so she is not related to Daisaku Ikeda. "In my work on disarmament, I am ever so grateful for the Buddhist philosophy I was raised with, which is clearly reflected in Ikeda's peace proposals," Anna says. "The belief that all people are born with an inherent goodness in them that enables us to overcome all our challenges – this philosophy reminds me that regardless of complexity, all of our social and global challenges are deeply connected to our own lives."

The 2019 peace proposal

Soka Gakkai International (SGI) has the status of a faith-based organization in the UN, and as leader of the SGI, Daisaku Ikeda submits a peace proposal every year. Now it's the 37th time. The peace proposal was launched in English in February and is on the agenda available online. For the sake of limited space, two of Daisaku Ikeda's proposals are presented here:

Ikeda's proposal for a nuclear weapons ban. For the United Nations Nuclear Prohibition Agreement (TPNW), which was negotiated in 2017, to come into force, 50 nations must ratify the agreement. To help bring the agreement into effect as soon as possible, Ikeda proposes establishing a group of friends for the nuclear weapons ban. This by model of the Friends of the Trial Stop Agreement, initiated by Australia, Japan and the Netherlands in 2002. The group organizes meetings at the ministerial level to increase the number of countries adopting the agreement. Last year, over 70 nations participated in such a meeting. The meeting has participants from countries both with and without nuclear weapons and is open to the members of the agreement as well as non-members. Several nations have ratified the probation agreement after attending such meetings, Ikeda writes. He particularly recommends Japan to initiate a similar scheme for TPNW.


A ban on the development and use of autonomous weapons. Ikeda supports the initiative to ban the development and use of autonomous weapons through the UN Weapons Convention, in line with Mary Wareham's policy (see April issue of New Time). Now Ikeda Wareham's policy complements Buddhist reasoning and gives the campaign a greater basis for movement.

What is fundamental to Ikeda's opposition to autonomous weapons is what he calls "ethical disconnection". The ethical disconnection occurs when the person initiating an attack with autonomous weapons is completely isolated from the actual operation being performed. Ikeda regards all physical disconnection between perpetrator and victim as problematic in itself, as in the case of drone wars, but considers the ethical disconnection made by the use of autonomous weapons as far more harmful – to both the perpetrator, potential victims and humanity. He points out, for example, that former enemies will not be able to meet in reconciliation if the acts of violence were carried out by weapons that are beyond human control. Ikeda further asks if there will be room to regret their war actions, experience powerlessness in the face of war, or go in personally to restore peace in the wake of autonomous warfare. He compares autonomous weapons with nuclear weapons in terms of the danger they will pose to humanity. If such weapons are developed, they will radically change our security policy environment, have enormous humanitarian consequences, lower the threshold for violence and undermine humanitarian law, Ikeda believes.

Although Daisaku Ikeda realizes that today's disarmament and weapons control agreements are under intense pressure, he insists on disarmament optimism. He optimizes his optimism in existing and emerging initiatives for disarmament on a humanitarian basis.


“Seen with the glasses of Buddhism, the most fundamental and critical change in the way we think about peace, security, relationships with others happens in our own consciousness. That is why we at SGI focus on grassroots education, as you see in this year's peace proposal. Ikeda's lyrics always give me hope that we have the power to change our own society, and that peace, through solidarity and inner transformation, is possible ”, concludes Anna Ikeda.

Lene Grimstad
Lene Grimstad
Grimstad is a former journalist in MODERN TIMES, and a board member of Norges Fredslag.

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