Welcome to the

President of Soka Gakkai International,

Daisaku Ikeda's

Peace Proposal 1991


Dawn of the Century of Humanity

In commemoration of the 16th anniversary of the SGI

January 26,1991

The 1990's began with a succession of unprecedented events portending historic change, full of hope for a promising future-the arrival of the age of the people's will. The recent outbreak of war in the Middle East and the upheavals occurring elsewhere in the world, however, have reminded us anew that the path to a new, post-Cold War world order will not be an easy one.

The world had just emerged from the long tunnel of the Cold War when Iraq invaded Kuwait in the summer of 1990; the ensuing conflict plunged us again into darkness. A deadline was set (January 15) for Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait; the date came to be a day of reckoning.

Today, the destruction and pollution of war-a worst possible scenario-are unfolding in the Gulf between Iraq and the multinational forces. Prior to the deadline, I joined in presenting an urgent personal appeal to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein with Soviet writer Chingiz Aitmatov, British physicist Bernard Benson, The Club of Rome President, Ricardo Diez Hochleitner, UNESCO Director-General Federico Mayor Zaragoza, and Nigerian pIay-wright and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature Wole Soyinka. We called upon Saddam Hussein to take the great and brave step of withdrawing from Kuwait, in order to open the way for international summit meetings to discuss the problems in the Middle East.

For me, as a Buddhist prizing above all the sanctity of life, it was an appeal that had to be made. That war has nevertheless erupted fills me with profound sadness. We must pray that it will be brought to a close soon, and unite our voices in calling for an international conference to seek a comprehensive peace in the region under UN initiatives.

Although the post-World War II international framework created at the Yalta Conference (1945) was riddled with contradictions, it did have built-in mechanisms of crisis management. When the world cast off the restraining yoke of that system, the powers of confusion and chaos were given freer rein, a tumultuous time has now begun in which every nation-some to a greater extent than others-is under severe pressure to protect and maintain its national interests.

The Cold War may have come to an end, but a new world order to replace the old will not take shape of its own accord. In Europe, the value placed on military might has begun to diminish, but in some other parts the world dictatorships relying on armed force still prevail. Ethnic, religious and economic conflicts are intensifying, paving the way for regional strife. The Prospects for the peaceful development of a global society remain dim.

The outbreak of the Gulf war demonstrates, I believe, how futile it is to formulate plans for a new world order without settling the North-South problem-the inequities between rich and poor; the legacies of the colonial age, the dilemmas of the exploited and the exploiters. International society is in urgent need of a work able plan for world peace that includes solutions to regional troubles; the minds of all the people concerned must be marshaled in its making. This pressing need, and the increasing gravity of environmental issues, make more manifest than ever before the fact that it is the common task of humanity to protect our one and only Earth. Today we have an urgent need for the power to conceive a new plan for world peace and for the people's commitment to carrying it out.

With this great century drawing to its end, there is much speculation-both pessimistic and optimistic-about the future. As we strive to steady the course of world history so that it moves us into an age governed by the will of the people and the tide of democracy, I suggest we recall John F Kennedy's famous speech, in which he said: "Man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human being's. Man's reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable-and we believe they can do it again". If the forces of the peace-loving peoples of the world are united, they can turn back the encroaching forces of chaos and open the gates to a new century of peace.

Power and Powershift

In his recent opus Powershift, American futurologist Alvin Toffler offers some valuable insights. Mr. Toffler divides power into three categories: (1) violence, which he calls low-quality power, (2) wealth (medium-quality power), and (3) knowledge (high-quality power). He notes "the astounding degree to which today both force and wealth themselves have come to depend on knowledge" This is the dawn, he says, of an age of powershift.

Why is knowledge considered to be "high-quality power"? Mr. Toffler explains that violence and wealth tend to be monopolized by the powerful and the rich, whereas knowledge is thoroughly democratic, accessible and usable to anyone, no matter how poor or weak. Of course, we cannot afford to be overly optimistic about the current preeminence of high-quality power, because, as Mr. Toffler warns, "Any new alligence of democratic groups will face three giant forces now racing towards convergence in a worldwide crusade that could, if we are not careful, sweep us into a new Dark Age" The three forces are identified as "holy frenzy" the "eco-theoracy," and the "new xenophobes." "Holy frenzy" refers to the fundamentalist forces-Christian, Judaic, Islamic or other-that are hostile to secularism; "eco-theocracy" represents unreasonable attempts to limit human rights in the name of "protecting" the environment; and by the "new xenophobes" Mr. Toffler means the negative ethnic forces that are gaining ground here and there in the world today.

The three forces appear sometimes separately, sometimes in combination. As a Buddhist, I believe we should be particularly aware off the threat of a "holyfrenzy". It is quite natural that individuals atomized by the secular mass society should be drawn to religion in quest of spiritual healing or the recovery of a sense of spiritual wholeness. But what lies ahead for them is not always brightness and light: witness the revival of fundamentalist movements and the proliferation of new religions with their anti-rational, anti-intellectual cults and self styled prophets. We must beware of religions that turn their backs on the progress of history and society, and of the tendency to do so that is inherent in all religions.

In the summerof 1990, I had an opportunity to talk with Amencan educators Dr. David L Norton (University of Delaware) and Dr. Dayle M. Bethel (United States International University). As it happened, we agreed on this dangerous aspect of religion. I spoke candidly of my views on the relation between education and religion. I told them, for example, that without the worid of knowledge opened up by education, religion and belief would run the risk of becoming no more than "blind faith". On the other hand, wisdom through education can be the source of light that makes religious mind all the more radiant. I reminded them how important religion is to human beings. But history shows how religion has at times become self-righteous and oppressive. The possibility that religious education may become a form of indoctrination is ever-present.

Dr. Bethel, in full agreement with my point, wrote (in the Soka Gakkai International guest register):

I was especially interested in Mr. Ikeda's comments about the greater importance of education as compared with religion and the unfortunate tendency for leaders of religion to sometimes get between the people and universal principles and truths. There is much food for thoght here. Religion is tremendously important but so often institutional expressions lose sight of the universal. Education and religion together permit us to keep sight of the eternal vision. I appreciate the opportunity to contemplate on these thoughts.

By education, I refer to a broad spectrum of intellectual and spiritual activities. Religion should not be allowed to turn itsback on this vital realm of human endeavor. In fact, the two should complement each other, with the former providing the soil in which the latter can be nurtured and its progress encouraged. Only then will the intellectual powers of the individual be improved and strengthened, adding further impetus to the tide of democracy and the people's will.

We cannot afford to be overly optimistic. The struggle we face is an enormous experiment in the history of civilisations. As Mr. Toffler writes, "In the Powershift Era ahead, the primary idealogical struggle will no longer be between capitalist democracy and communist totalitarianism, but between 21st-century democracy and 11th-century darkness". When we look at the current state of international politics, we can see that the ongoing struggle toward democracy is not necessarily unfolding in our favor.

Cosmopolitanism and the Open Society

Underlying the above-mentioned three "giant forces" Mr. Toffler warns against is an exclusivist impulse that has afflicted human society since the dawn of history, a predisposition criticized by French philosopher Henri Bergson as the tendency toward a "Closed society" and more recently by American essayist Prof. Norman Cousins as a "tribal consciousness". In a closed society, all may go well within the group itself, but with any contact with other cultures or societies, its members shut themselves off, refusing to participate in the very debate and dialogue that are proof of our humanity, and ultimately resort to violence. When two cultures meet and either one or both cannot tolerate the culture or way of life of the other, the resultant friction need only rise to a certain degree before the two clash head-on.

The Gulf war and the difficuities being encountered in the process of carrying utt the policies of perestroika (restructuring) in the Soviet Union are more than enough proof of the deep-rooted predisposition to closure in human society; We are deeply concerned for the future of perestroika and President Mikhail Gorbachev; a Western-style liberal rationalist committed to the ideals of glasnost (openness of information and freedom of speech) and democratization. Because ideology-once the USSR's first claim to fame-has been discredited and the union of republics is in danger of collapsing, depravity and anarchy an now spreading. Writer Vasily V. Bykov tells us that hate is becoming the dominant sentiment, its tentacles spreading like an ugly cult among the people. In such circumstances, where the lower sentiments of human nature can easily breed and become mingled with ethnic chauvinism and religious dogmatism, it is no doubt difficult-far more difficult than we can even imagine-to be faithful to tbe principle of solving problems through discussion and dialogue.

The recent, seemingly conservative, moves by Soviet President Gorbachev in dealing with the three Baltic republics are cause for great concern (though the extent which he has been involved, directly or indirectly, in the use of force is unclear). Still, I remain convinced that Gorbachev is not a leader who feels compelled to resort to armed force in order to solve problems. More than one leading figure in the Soviet Union has told me that "if he (Gorbachev) had wanted to, he could have chosen to entrench himself in power peacefully like Brehnev rather than bothering to launch perestroika.

And when I met President Gorbachev last year in Moscow, he himself told me that he placed dialogue above violence: "The first thing we did in perestroika was to give everyone freedom. What we must work on next", he said, "is how we can put that freedom to use". Talking with the Soviet leader, I was convinced that the man before me was not a power-hungry dictator, but an agonized philosopher-politician. That conviction makes me all the more eager to see him steer perestroika safely and unerringly through the stormy waters ahead.

The realities Mr Gorbachev faces in the Soviet Union remind us just how deep run the emotions that stem from the closed-society mentality or tribal consciousness. Humankind has always been at the mercy of these emotions. The foremost task we face today-momentous in the histoiy of civilizations- is to overcome this ancient human proclivity. In this age of growing interdependence, Japan is no longer free to remain a mere onlooker to the events on the world stage. We must shed our insularity and pursue heart-to-heart, in-depth exchanges with other countries and other peoples.

Bergson believed that a closed society could not he changed into an open society merely through a quantitative development of human response in relation to the size of the public unit with which the individual is engaged (e.g., from the level of nation or ethnic group to that of humankind). That approach was proposed long ago by Confucius who taught that when each individual governs himself well, the household will be well managed, and when each household is in order, the country will be well governed, and so on. What is needed to eniighten the closed society? A qualitative shift within the psyche of its individual members, thus opening their lives. Bergson refers to a religion dynamique that provides the indispensable momentum for such a shift. I differ with Bergson with regard to his view Of religion, particularly of Buddhism. I agree, however, that cosmopolitanism demands openness, and that some kind of religious impulse-which springs not from a "holy frenzy" but from a universalist world religion-is needed to foster the spiritual liberation of the person at the very source of identity. This I have long advocated.

The outbreak of the Gulf war has shaken us from the momentary euphoria inspired by the end of the Cold War, and crushed the hopes of people who had begun to look forward to a peace dividend both of the spirit and of the pocket. Even at the moment of this writing, there is no telling which way the Gulf war will go. Some even fear it might escalate into the fifth in the succession Of Middle East wars.

The Role of the United Nations

As Karl Jaspers has written, however, there is no situation that is absolutely hopeless. The important thing is what lessons the world will learn from the Gulf war. I believe the greatest task the current crisis assigns us is the reform and strengthening of the United Nations, thereby establishing new systems of international security and crisis management and building a new world order. The United Nations, under the leadership of Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuelliar, played a vigorous role in the efforts to prevent the outbreak of hostilities in the Gulf. When the deadline passed, the US-led multi-national forces attacked Iraq. This was a source of great sadness fbr the United Nations, but it was not necessarily a disgrace for the international body, which is not omnipotent. It was significant and unprecedented that as the situation grew critical, the world turned to the United Nations for a solution to the confict.

The new standing the United Nations enjoys was stressed, paradoxically enough, by the fact that the United States had to rely on the UN Security Council resolutions to justify its use of force. We now know that the United Nations is the only viable forum in which leaders from around the world can work together effectively. The Gulf crisis has clearly demonstrated the great weight the United Nations carries in international society today; and that international opinion can achieve its fullest impact only with the United Nations' support. It goes without saying that the United Nations was able to play a central role because of the emphasis placed on UN diplomacy by both Washington and Moscow; the fact that more than ten resolutions concerning the Gulf crisis were passed in the Security Council was a measure of their trust in the organization.

At the same time, we must face the reality that the United Nations as it is today does not exercise sufficient power to maintain world peace, as the recent outbreak of war shows. Before it can help build a new international order, the United Nations has to be reorganised and strengthened; this in a task each country must assume as its own immediate concern and as the highest priority for humankind as a whole.

The world today is fundamentally different from what it was at the time of the founding of the United Nations. Qualitative changes have been wrought recently by the world's new complex, multipolar power structure. International organisations have to be able to deal flexibly with such changes. The Charter of the United Nations is an outstanding code by which to govern international society; but nearly half a century has passed since it was framed; the time has come to consider modifications to assure that it is attuned to our day.

Last year I had an in-depth discussions with Prof. Norman Cousins on the issue of regenerating the United Nations. "The aim of a revised United Nations", he said, "would be to have its own actual and potential force, large enough to prevent aggression or to cope with it instantly if it should occur". He also said, "The United Nations Charter anticipates the need for change in its own structure."

In the history of international organizations, the League of Nations represented a first phase and the United Nations a second phase. With the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations four years away (1995), wouldn't it be timely to make plans for a third-phase international organization refined and tailored to the needs of the twenty-first century? I think the time is ripe to map out a UN reform program building on the philosophy that originally guided the founding of the United Nations as well as on a long-term perspective.

The United Nations is made up of sovereign states, and although its achievements have been many, it has also suffered many frustrations and failures because of its organizational structure. Its members have tended to put their own national interests above all else, crippling the world body's efforts to make decisions in the interests of the world or humankind as a whole. Any third-phase organization should be conceived in such a way as to overcome this handicap.

Even today; though sovereign states continue to dominate the world scene, new phenomena appear every day that transcend this outmoded framework. Destruction of the environment and the threat of nuclear war are two issues of global proportion. The war currently being waged in the Persian Gulf proves the inadequacy of the nation-state system. How is it that at this time, on the very threshold of the twenty-first century, one sovereign state could so openly invade and occupy another? And why is it taking so much time and so many sacrifices to rectify the situation? I think it is because Arab nationalism-the aspiration for Arab unity-cannot be dealt with within the framework of sovereign states.

Though the use of arms against Iraq by the multinational forces may have been unavoidable, some fear the coalition may be drawn into an impossible quagmire in the name of the United Nations. Others point out that the funndamental solution does not lie simply in driving Iraq out of Kuwait by force; the reason is that t e Arab people are deeply imbued with what might be called the "logic of the south". This logic derives from the conviction that whatever way the United Nations, centered around the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, deals with international disputes, it will invariably be skewed in favor of the interests of the advanced nations. They feel, in short, that the United Nations is not a fair forum. As long as these perceptions of this situation prevail, the United Nations cannot fun tion effectively. The limitations under which the United Nations presently labors can only be overcome, I believe, when its overall structure and operations reflect a human face rather than the nationalistic faces of the individual states. The human face I refer to has, in fact, two aspects, one reflecting peoples and the other the whole human race. It is imperative now that the people be recognized and organized as the principal actors not only in the United Nations but throughout the international community. They are the agents of an increasingly border-less world, in which goods, money, information and, above all, people move about freely without regard to national borders. 1990 alone, more than ten million Japanese traveled abroad; national boundaries are no longer the hurdle they once were.

The United Nations from its outset had the two aspects of "the governments" and "the peoples", tbe subjects identified in the preamble to the Charter: we the peoples of the United Nations" and "our respective Governments" But, in reality, the United Nations has always served as an organization of governments and its decisions have all been made by those governments. The "peoples" have been relegated to the backstage.

I believe the United Nations should enhance the role of the people in its organization and operations, because today power at the citizen's level is growing rapidly. Non-governmental organizations NGO's), in particular, promise to develop into an effective force for seeking breakthroughs to problems the United Nations has found difficult to solve. In terms of economic cooperation, for example, Japan boasts the largest budget for official development assistance (ODA) in the world, but has been bitterly criticized for attaching more importance to the expansion of business opportunities for Japanese corporations than to the needs of developing countries. NGOs, by contrast can extend economic cooperation that is more carefully considered and properly tailored to the specific needs of a recipient country.

Presently, the relationship between the United Nations and the NGO's, as stipulated in Article 71 of the UN charter, is limited to consultations with the Economic and Social Council. But in reality UN-NGO cooperative relations have gone far beyond that. Especially noteworthy is the growing influence of NGO's on interstate diplomacy through their energetic involvement in efforts to cope with global issues, including attendance at UN-sponsored conferences on the environment and on arms reduction. These NGO activities-aimed at approaching problems and seeking solutions to global issues for the benefit of the human race rather than individual states-are indispensable.

A democratic system is designed to place a check on government actions and to keep them on the right course. The time is ripe to devise a system to facilitate NGO input directly in the debates at the United Nations. I earnestly hope that through these and other vehicles, the wisdom of the people will be tapped in the effort to revise and strengthen the UN system as a reflection of popular will.

The Sovereignty of Humanity

The other aspect of the United Nations is that of humanity. For the United Nations to grow into something beyond a mere league of sovereign states, I propose the concept of federation. The Soviet Union, multiracial like many other countries in the world, is currently in the throes of trying to reforge its federal system as a loose union of sovereign republics. The European Community, too, is inclining toward a European confederation. These are efforts to grope toward a new order in international society.

The new challenge that has been taken on in Europe deserves special attention. In November 1990 in Paris, twenty-two member countries of NATO and the Warsaw Treaty Organization signed a no-war declaration and concluded an epoch-making treaty for the reduction of conventional armed forces in Europe. The no-war declaration not only means that the Cold War is over but also indicates the maturity of Europe's determination to banish armed conflict from the continent forever. This declaration impresses us keenly as a signal that the states system that has held Europe in its grip since the seventeenth century is now about to be engulfed by a gigantic wave of change. Indeed, a speech made by Richard von Weizsacker, president of Germany, made on October 3, the day of German unification, is noteworthy in this context. "Our ultimate goal is not to create a nation-state," he said, adding: "No nation in the world can solve the world's major problems by itself. Modern systems do not think and function nationally. This applies to security and the environment, to industry and energy; to transport and telecommunications. In our age sovereignty means playing our part within the community of states".

This speech articulates the nature of the momentous concept of "common sovereignty", the aim of whicht is completely different from the absolute sovereignty of states. The integration of the EC is moving ever more quickly toward the formation of a larger framework encompassing both the economic and political realms. In the near future, when integration of regional markets and currencies has been achieved, and this shift is then extended to security and diplomatic concerns, the major functions of each country's sovereignty will have been largely transfered to the EC.

While I applaud these moves toward integration on new levels, I cannot suppress a slight sense of concern. The other side of regional integration could easily be the emergence of exclusivist blocs that place excessive emphasis on regional interests. In order to eliminate that danger, it is necessary to devise a global federation to function in conjunction with emerging regional blocs. Until now, the notion of a world federation has always seemed to be possible only in the far distant future, something not within the realm of the immediately realizable. But the federation is a form that I believe is flexible and versatile enough to overcome the limitations that tie the hands of the United Nations today.

With the invention a nuclear arms, war as a nation's sovereign right became an act that could lead directly to the annihilation of the human race. Because of that, as I have repeatedly stressed, humankind has no choice but to learn to transcend the framework of the state and master the shift in perceptions from "national" to "human" interests, from the sovereignty of the state to the sovereignty of humanity. The question always in my mind, therefore, is how our system can be transformed into one built on the idea of human sovereignty.

Prof. Norman Cousins, known as a vigorous advocate of world federalism, spoke very eloquently in our conversations on this subject. He pointed out that there are two kinds of sovereignty, one being absolute and the other relative. The former centers around military might, while the latter indicates jurisdiction over the way of life and activities carried out within the state. Prof. Cousins said, "Creating safety on earth does not necessitate the total dissolution of the nation state. To make national sovereignty meaningful, it is necessary only to eliminate those of its attributes that contribute to world anarchy and to assure and underwrite those of its attributes that constitute national responsibility". His idea is that only absolute sovereignty should be dissolved.

It would be daydreaming to think that nation-states would simply disappear with the adoption of a world federation. Prof. Cousins did not think it possible for a unitary world-state to come into being immediately. His idea, rather, was that there would be clearcut distinctions between world jurisdiction and national jurisdiction, between the sovereignty that would be pooled in the federation and the sovereignty retained by the "nation-states". The notion of a world federation offers much food for thought in regards to how to sublimate the negative attributes of state sovereignty and build a system for war-free coexistance among peoples. I think we should further pursue and elaborate upon this idea.

Toward a New International Order

Above I have outlined some ideas for a long-term plan aimed at creating a new international order; to be undertaken mainly under the aegis of the United Nations. With these ideas as a starting point, I would now like to reexamine the security and peace-keeping activities of the United Nations.

Presently it is the United Nations Security Council that holds the greatest responsibility for maintaIning peace and security in the internatinal community; The age of hegemony, when a handful of powerful countries controlled the world, is past. Yet the vestages of that age linger on in the Security Council, where only its permanent members-the five major nations victorious in World War II, China, France, the USSR, the United Kingdom, and the United States-hold veto power. Isn't it time to review this mechanism? Many have argued that as long as the Security Council stands as it is, the likelihood that a handful of countries win control or exploit the United Nations for their own interests remains high, preventing the organisation from achieving its real potential.

The question of what determines membership on the Security Council (the UN body that carries the heaviest responsibility for global peacekeeping) is a matter of vital concern. Some people believe that Japan and Germany should be made permanent members of the council. There is also a proposal for EC representation, treating the United Kingdom, France and Germany as a single unit. Other proposals suggest that leading nations of the South, representing their respective regions, be brought into the council membership. Many voices, especially in Japan, are demanding that Japan be given permanent membership on the Security Council. Considering its overall, particularly economic, strength and its large share (second to the United States) of monetary support for the United Nations, this demand that Japan be allowed to participate in the pivotal body of the organization seems logical. Logical, but impossible.

The reason it is impossible is that the concept upon which the Security Council operates is "collective security". The Japanese Constitution forbids participation in collective security pacts; it is unconstitutional to send Self-Defense Force personnel overseas. Suppose Japan became a permanent member of the Security Council. It could not supply troops to join the multinational forces backed by Security Council resolutions, such as those presently participating in the Persian Gulf war, or as part of a United Nations force as stipulated in the UN Charter; As long as "security" is defined in predominantly military terms, Japan's presence on the Security Council would be untenable and unacceptable in international society.

Considering its importance in the world, Japan can no longer indulge in the luxury of "peace in our country alone", particularly in an era of growing international interdependence. Hemmed in by the restrictions imposed by the postwar constitution, some have advocated revision of that document so that Japan could contribute to world security on a par with other leading nations. I cannot agree with this view, however, for I oppose any change in the peace-oriented national policy adhered to since the end of World War II. far more feasible is another proposal concerning the formation of an organization-distinct from the Self-Defense Forces-specially designed to participate in United Nations peacekeeping operations (PKO), I also believe that Japan should make a more significant and meaningful contribution to international security in nonmilitary areas, such as in global environmental protection.

Returning to the issue of the strengthening and reform of the United Nations, I urge a drastic rethinking of the concept of security and propose that the Security Council be divided into two sections, one to be in charge of international disputes and the other to be in charge of the environment. This idea came to me when I talked with Mr Sverre Lodgaard, director of the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo, during his visit to Japan in 1990. Mr. Lodgaard argues that the idea of security from a military perspective alone is not enough, that a new concept of environmental security must be added to it.

Indeed, the threat to human life today consists not only of war or nuclear holocaust, but also of the destruction and deterioration of the earth's environment. Protection of the global environment must be made one of the top priorities of international politics, and the whole issue of security should be reappraised, incorporating environmental questions.

In view of the gravity of the environmental destruction underway on our planet, I have called for the establishment of an "Environmental United Nations" As an important step toward that goal I propose that a second security council be set up to monitor and take charge of environmental ppoblems. A United Nations conference on the environment and development will be held in Brazil next year, and UN efforts to grapple with environmental issues are now entering a decisive stage. Japan can make a significant cnntribution, befitting its economic strength, in the area of environmental protection. I am especially eager to see Japan exercise active leadership in realizing the establishment of an "Environmental Security Council", a bold and courageous step that would help remedy its image as a nation of "economic animals".

Now, in connection with the need for a more preeminent place in international society for the human face, let me call attention to the possibility of an "international consultative body" consisting of eminent persons of wisdom from around the world, as proposed by the French thinker Jacques Maritain in an essay on world government that he wrote after the end of World War II. It would be a supreme advisory body, capable of transcending national or racial differences; its members would be world citizens, independent of any government and free to fulfill their moral responsibilities. Maritain was hopeful that international public opinion could be organized by such a body.

With the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations only a few years away, as part of the move to revise and strengthen this venerable body, I think it imperative that such a commission of wise men and women be set up to map out reform plans. Similar groups have already been created, but this one should be more global in scale and its members should undertake discussion of plans from a genuinely cosmopolitan perspective for a new and powerful twenty-first-century international organization.

Such an international consultative body would do well to deal not only with specific, concrete issues but also with moral, philosphical questions such as, "What is justice?" The reason I say this is that crisis like the Gulf war involve large questions. For example: what constitutes a "just" cause to the Arabs? Iraqi President Saddam Hussein linked settlement of the Palestinian question with withdrawal from Kuwait in an attempt to make the Iraqi-Kuwait problem of a piece with the whole Arab issue. The United States does not accept this tie-up; that is what ultimately led to the outbreak of war.

There is not space herein to discuss the Arab cause in detail, but let me comment briefly on the implications of the expressions "justice" or "the cause". These words possess the charismatic power to excite people. Japan, too, before 1945, was aroused by what was called the "eternal cause"-yukyu no taigi. Japanese like myself who experienced the war half a century ago cannot hear the word "cause" without wondering what's behind it and recalling that slogan. It is not proper, of course, to equate the Arab cause with the fanatic slogan of Japan's military fascists, but we must be very careful to properly understand its nature, for many lives are being sacrificed in its name.

When I think of justice and causes, the warnings of Austrian jurist Hans Kelsen about the pitfalls of "absolute justice" ring in my ears. He wrote in the essay Platonic Justice:

There is no such thing as absolute justice. It defies definition. This ideal is an illusion, There are only interests and conflicts of interest and the solution of these conflicts through battle or compromise. As a matter of necessity, thoughts of peace entered the realm of rationality in place of the ideal of justice. But the necessity; and longing, for a justice that is more than mere compromise and mere peace, and, above all, the belief in some kind of higher, even supreme, absolute worth are too powerful to be shaken by any rational considerations. History shows that it is simply impossible to shake this conviction.

If this belief is an illusion, then it is an illusion stronger than reality; Because for most people, and perhaps even for the whole of humanity; the solution to a problem-the answer in a rational question-does not necessarily lie in a concept or a word. And that is also why humankind will presumably never be content with the answers of Sophists, but will again and again, be it through blood and tears, seek the path that Plato took-the path of religion.

Kelsen asserts that the aspiration for justice is an innate part of human nature, for better or worse. Indeed, it might be said that a person's character is shaped by what he or she considers justice to be. Among Japanese, the concept of justice has traditionally remained very ambiguous, and their stance on issues is invariably unclear. Since more than a decade ago, particularly since the recent opening of the era of internationalization, Japanese have frequently been called to task for this lack of a clear philosophy or principles. Justice takes the form of a philosophy or principles according to the actions taken, regardless of loss or gain, advantage or disadvantage.

A typical illustration may be found in the way the Japanese government has dealt with the Gulf crisis since August of 1990. One cannot detect even a trace of philosophy or principle. As demonstrated in the way monetary assistance was offered to the multinational forces in the Gulf, the government's response in the crisis has been excruciatingly slow and purely situational. It acted sluggishly when it should have responded quickly, and hastily when, it should have been methodical and prudent. It submitted to the Diet a slapdash United Nations Peace Cooperation bill (seeking to allow the Self-Defence Forces to be sent overseas to trouble spots like the Persian Gulf), despite the fact that it consisted of legislation of such magnitude that it wouId drastically change national policy, something that ordinarily would not be possible without prolonged discussion and debate. The contents of the bill, moreover, were far from having been carefully developed, and questioning in the Diet revealed one after another of its loopholes and inconsistencies.

Japan's inveterate lack of principle, combined with the huge amount of its defense spending, is a matter of great concern to China and other Asian countries, and with good reason, for they can still recall the nightmare of Japanese militarism in the l930's and '40's. Their criticisms are many: Jakob Oetama, editor-in-chief of the Indonesian daily Kompas, asks, "Ideologically, what does Japan represent or stand for? What is Japan, besides a very rich and superior industrialized country?" And Max V. Soliven, publisher and chairman of the editorial board of the Philoppines Star, observes, "These days, gleaming jet aircraft unload battalions of blue-suited businessmen from Edo and the bustling industrial complexes of the Kansai plain, as well as Kagoshima in the far south, who may look like civilians but possess the decided swagger of the old kempeitai (military police)."

A country without a clear philosophy or consistent principles must be eyed with suspicion, for it changes its behavior depending on the situation, and its actions are unpredictable. Such a country can never win international confidence. To be trusted, Japan must take a firm stance and devote much greater effort to cultural diplomacy, as I have long advocated. Some Japanese are convinced that the end of the "age of ideology" has come, and have been duped into thinking that the polytheism they are accustomed to will be the order of the day from now on. But this is pure naivete, and unknown pitfalls await them.

It is also true, however, that we must break away once and for all from the topsy-turvy world in which one scale of justice is at loggerheads with another; where human beings are turned into the means of struggle between the two and blood is shed for the sake of justice, just as Kelsen warned. Human history is rife with bloody wars fought for precisely this reason. Particularly in societies dominated by an exclusive, monotheistic religion like Christianity, Judaism or Or Islam, preventing such strife is a serious problem, and many profound thinkers, including St Augustine and St Thomas Aquas, have been arguing since long ago about the nature of a just war.

Today nuclear arms threaten us with Armageddon, the nuclear war to end all wars. The venerable humanist Kazuo Watanabe has asked, "What would happen to religion if the earth were destroyed? Some people might survive. But what would a church do in an age where onIy sturdy, animal-like survivors live among the ruins?" These questions are ones that deserve the attention not only of religious leaders but of all people today who have been trampled underfoot by the crazed embodiments of various ideologies of justice.

Peace with Justice

But does the question of justice and peace really have to be an either-or matter, as Kelsen suggested? I do not think so. If the yearning for justice is as strong within the human being as he says,there is sure to be a way to attain true peace through devotion to justice, via a path leading to a higher order of peace and justice. The important thing here is to carefully study the meaning and conditions of justice. Let us consider the concept of peace compatible with justice to replace war for the sake of justice, as suggested by Professor Emeritus Arthur Kaufmann of the University Of Munich, Germany. Prof. Kaufmann identifies six' prerequisites for the attainment of this goal. First is the principle of equality. Based on recognition of the fundamental sanctity of life, it guarantees dignity equally to all individuals. Among nations, it assures equal opportunity and equal respect in economic and cultural relations. The second prerequisite is "the golden rule" as expressed in the Bible: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". But Prof. Kaufmann translates the rule into an ethical principle and expands on it to indude the negative proposition, "Don't do unto others what you would not have them do unto you." The categorical imperative is the third prerequisite, following Immanuel Kant's famous aphorism, "Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law." The fourth is the principle of fairness. As in sports where playing on a level field is the basic rule, in international relations all countries must be entitled to the same advantages and subject to the same disadvantages. The fifth is the principle of responsibillty. No action should be taken the consequences of which might destroy; endanger or degrade people's lives or the environment in which they live, now or in the future. The sixth is the principle of tolerance. Even if your neighbor's thoughts run counter to your own interests, you should respect them.

Space forbids me to go into each of the six prerequisites in detail, but I should like to say that if each country were to adhere to these standards of justice, it might be possible to build a peace compatible with justice, not simply peace as a temporary war-free condition or, in Kelsen's terms, peace as a compromise solution to conflicts of interest This is the kind of theme that should be deliberated on in the international consultative body discussed earlier.

What would happen if this idea a peace and justice is ignored and if specific religions and ideologies continue to insist that their own definition at justice alone is absolute? Prof. Kaufmann quotes Nobel Prize-winning zoologist and ethnologist Konrad Lorenz: "The very attempt to keep up the social norms and ceremonies that are believed to represent the highest values is what will lead to religious war, the most horrifing of all wars. And it is [the possibility of] this war that is threatening us today."

This statement was made only ten years ago.

We who are devoted to religion in the cause of peace and for the sake of humanity keep these warnings in mind as we go about our work. We believe that religion of this kind helps open up the furtile plain that is peace compatible with justice.

Toward the New World Order

As part of the effort to build a new world order, it is necessary not only to reform the United Nations but also to augment its peacekeeping functions. The prerequisite for more viable UN peacekeeping mechanisms, however, is the building of regional frameworks of peace. At the beginning of 1990, as we hailed the end of the Cold War and the advent of a new age, I declared that the time had come "to go back to the spirit of the United Nations Charter and plunge ourselves into the task of building a new global community without war". This means, in other words, building a system of peacefull coexistence at both the regional and global levels.

Encouraging signs pointing the way toward that goal can already be seen in Europe, as I mentioned earlier. And in Asia, too, our attention is drawn to events of equally epochal significance, especially those that unfolded in Northeast Asia in 1990. The Republic or Korea and the Soviet Union, long hostile to each other; established diplomatic relations on September 30. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and south Korean President Roh Tae Woo met in San Francisco, and then in Moscow, and signed a joint declaration stating that the two countries would work together to end the Cold War and establish peace on the Korean Peninsula.

I myself felt the tide of great changes rising up on the peninsula when I visited Seoul for the first time last September. North Korea (the Democratic People's Republic of Korea) has begun talks with Japan on normalizing diplomatic relations between the two countries. A meeting was held in Pyongyang bringing together the prime ministers of the North and the South for the first time since the division of the peninsula. In Seoul, DPRK Prime Minister Yon Hyong Muk met with ROK President Roh, and in Pyongyang, ROK Prime Minister Kang Young Hoon met with DPRK President Kim II Sung.

These are unprecedented developments. At the prime ministers' meeting in Pyongyang, the ROK proposed a "joint proclamation for North and South reconciliation and cooperation" and the DPRK proposed a nonaggression declaration. The two proposals coincide in several respects For example: in (1) observance of the three principles enunciated in the July 4.1972, joint communique, i.e., autonomy, peaceful unification, and the reunion of the Korean peopie; (2) the determination to settle differences of opinion and other conflicts by means of dialogue; (3) the intention not to invade each other's territory or interfere in each other's affairs; (4) the support of arms reduction; and (5) the dicision to install a hot line between North and South military authorities to prevent accidental armed conflict or its escalation. I sincerely hope that these noble resolutions will be realized, not only for the people of the peninsula but for the sake of peace in Asia as a whole.

In my message commemorating SGI day in January 1986, I called for direct meetings between the presidents of North and South, saying: "After examining past proposals and points upon which North Korea and South Korea have agreed, I think that the first task is to pledge mutual nonaggression and renunciation of war. North Korea must state that it will not advance southward while South Korea wili promise not to invade the North. The starting point of any dialogue must be for the leaders of the two countries to domestically and internationally declare and reaffirm such intentions."

I also stated: "My basic idea is that a pledge for mutual nonaggression and renunciation of war should be the precondition to everything, and that no other precondition should be sought if concerned countries, namely the United States, the Soviet Union, China and Japan, were to confirm and resolve to support such an agreement, the tension between North Korea and South Korea would be greatly alleviated."

In his speech at the United Nations in October 1968, President Roh Tae Woo proposed a plan for a "nonaggression declaration." President Kim Il Sung, too, told a South Korean delegation led by Prime Minister Kang Young Hoon during top-Ievel talks held in Pyongyang that he wanted to hold a summit meeting with President Rah. Currently it is said that North-South negotiations are at a stalemate, with no breakthrough in sight. Yet because both sides have shown in their respective proposals their intention to support mutual nonaggression and renunciation of war, it is clear that the time is approaching for a summit meeting.

If the top leaders of North and South Korea announced to the world their commitment to mutual nonaggression and their intention to settle their differences without recourse to war, moving toward unification after half a century of partition, the way would be paved for the signing of a peace treaty to be co-signed by the United States and China, putting to rest at long last the vestiges of the Korean War.

Japan and the Soviet Union, as neighbours with close ties, can support rapprochement in Korea by cooperating and improving relations with both sides: encouraging the moves that will ultimately bring about the collapse of the Cold War structure in Northeast Asia as well. One of the most volatile regions in the world is now expected to become one of the most prosperous in the world. Once unity and harmony are achieved, the Northeast Asian region can fulfill its potential for carrying greater political and economic weight and serving a pivotal role during the coming century of Asia and Pacific.

Another event that will help end the Cold War in Asia is the visit to Japan scheduled for April this year of Soviet President Gorbachev. When I saw him at the Kremlin in July 1990, he spoke with anticipation about the trip and I am especially hopeful that his visit will see a giant step forward in Japanese-Soviet friendship, adding impetus in turn to the promotion of peace in the Asian-Pacific region.

Asia is, of course, a region of diversity. In some parts of the region where there are strife and instability; the prospects for settlement are still not visible-such as in Kampuchea and Afganistan. We must not be overly optimistic, but the fighting is sure to end sooner or later in these areas, too.

The turn of the century is less than ten years ahead, and the growing mood among people around the world is that the time has arrived to bid a final farewell to war. In this nuclear age no victors will emerge from a war fought with nuclear arms. People are realizing that nothing is more irrational or more futile than war. If the antiwar trend that has been growing for some years continues to spread, it will be possible to hold a Conference for a World without War at the United Nations headquarters at the beginning of the twenty-first century, just as I have long hoped and prayed for. This peace conference, held with the participation of NGO's from around the world, should aim for the signing by all the nations of the Universal Declaration Renouncing War. Discussion should be under-taken to explore ways to channel the "peace dividend" accruing from substantive cutbacks in arms spending into helping mend the disparities between North and South, The conference should also deliberate on a bold, global-scale "New Deal" policy to help the developing countries.

If, based on the Univeral Declaration Renouncing War; a "global no-war agreement" with specific provisions can be concluded, then it may even be possible to draft a world constitution, which will incorporate provisions of the International Covenants on Human Rights. But before these aims can be achieved, not only must pervasive reforms be made in international poiitics, but fundemental changes will have to take place in people's ways of thinking and life-styles. It will be essential to cultivate true cosmopolitanism among people, and to build a consensus on a worldwide scale. To that end, education for world citizenship must be promoted with all possible speed, encouraging all members of the human race to work together to rid the world of war.

As the year 1991 begins, I would like to ask the members of the Soka Gakkai International to renew their commitment to our mission in the vanguard of this era of historic change. Guided by the principles of humanism, pacifism and culturalism, I personally resolve to seek exchange with as many opinion leaders through out the world as possible, carrying with me the message of globa peace. I will travel widely and devote my-self wholeheartedly to the continuing endeavor to broaden the network of peace.

Daisaku Ikeda

January 26,1991

Copyright : Soka Gakkai


Each year since 1983, Soka Gakkai International (SGI) President Daisaku Ikeda presents peace proposals on behalf of the international lay Buddhist organization, to which Soka Gakkai belongs. In them, he articulates Buddhist ideals and philosophy as a framework for addressing the manifold problems our global society faces in its efforts to realize human security and world peace.


Home | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 |2001| 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996 | 1995 | 1994 | 1993 | 1992 1991 | 1990 | 1989 | 1988 | 1987 | 1986 | 1985 | 1984 |1983

This web site has been published by Ted Penfold (SGI-UK), with the unstinting support of BJ French (SGI-USA). The contents are solely the responsibility of Ted Penfold and are for educational use only. The copyright remains the property of the Copyright holders.
Any comments are welcome and are to be sent to Ted Penfold.