TOKYO: On January 26, 2013, Daisaku Ikeda, president of the Soka Gakkai International
(SGI) Buddhist association, published his 31st annual peace proposal,
“Compassion, Wisdom and Courage: Building a Global Society of Peace and
Ikeda stresses the centrality of the dignity of life and calls for action toward abolition of nuclear weapons, the need to address poverty as a human rights issue and ways of improving relations between China and Japan.
To make respect for the dignity of life a reality, he proposes three broad guidelines: sharing the joys and sufferings of others, having faith in the limitless possibilities of life and consistently defending and celebrating diversity. Specifically, Ikeda emphasizes dialogue and self-reflection as means for spreading empathy and fostering a culture of peace. He notes that, because of the multilayered nature of human identity, “there is always the possibility of finding in one-to-one human interchanges points of confluence and mutual resonance.”
In terms of concrete measures, he welcomes efforts led by Norway and Switzerland to highlight the potentially devastating humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, and urges Japan, the only country to have been the target of these weapons, to support this endeavor. He repeats his call for the drafting and adoption of a Nuclear Weapons Convention to comprehensively ban these weapons of mass destruction. To this end, he also proposes that an expanded G8 Summit be held in Hiroshima or Nagasaki in 2015, the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of those cities, to encourage renewed commitment among world leaders to nuclear weapons abolition.
Noting that this year marks the 65th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Ikeda calls for urgent attention to poverty as a human rights issue. He urges implementation of a Social Protection Floor in every country to enable those living in extreme poverty to regain a sense of dignity. He also calls for human rights education and training on a global scale.
Having championed China-Japan friendship for over 45 years, Ikeda laments the recent deterioration in relations, but rejects pessimism on this issue, noting that deep friendship has been cultivated through countless exchanges over the years. He calls on both countries to reconfirm their commitment to the two key pledges in the 1978 Treaty of Peace and Friendship: to refrain from the use or threat of force and not to seek regional hegemony.
He proposes a high-level forum for dialogue between China and Japan together with a freeze on any provocative actions. Efforts to frankly analyze the roots of the current confrontation may produce heated debate, but they are needed to identify the underlying concerns and aspirations of the parties. Trust can only be rebuilt through joint efforts to resolve common problems and Ikeda therefore proposes that China and Japan launch an organization for environmental cooperation in East Asia. Such an organization would “create opportunities for young people from China and Japan to work together toward a common goal.”
Daisaku Ikeda (1928- ) is a Buddhist philosopher, peacebuilder and author. He is president of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) lay Buddhist network with 12 million members around the world, and founder of the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research and Soka University. Since 1983, Ikeda has issued peace proposals every year on January 26, the anniversary of the founding of the SGI in 1975.
Source: Soka Gakkai International