TOKYO, Sept. 10 /CNW/ - 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.
For further information:
For further information: Joan Anderson, Office of Public Information,
Tel: +81-3-5360-9482, Fax: +81-3-5360-9885, www.sgi.org