Welcome to the
President of Soka Gakkai International,
Peace Proposal 1995
Creating a Century Without War Through Human Solidarity
(The full text of SGI President Ikeda's peace proposal, commemorating the twentieth SGI Day, January 26, 1995)
First, I would like to express my profound grief for those who perished in the earthquake that struck the Kobe-Osaka area on January 17. I solemnly pray, as a Buddhist, for the repose of their souls. I also extend my heartfelt sympathies to all the victims of the earthquake. The sight of the devastation and chaos in much of the Kansai area, a place I think of as my second home, fills me with anguish.
I trust that the Japanese government and other public agencies will do everything possible to deal adequately and speedily with this greatest disaster here since the end of World War II. On the private-sector side, Soka Gakkai is doing its utmost to contribute to relief. We have dispatched emergency medical teams from the Doctors' Division, supplied food and other daily necessities with the help of volunteers from the Youth Division, provided emergency shelter in Soka Gakkai buildings, and sent donations to the public relief effort.
The people of quake-hit areas have striven mightily in helping and rescuing others, though many have themselves lost relatives or seen their homes damaged or destroyed. Their selflessness is most to be admired.
At the time of the Great Kanto Earthquake seven decades ago, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, founder and first president of the Soka Gakkai, was the principal of the Shirogane Elementary School in Tokyo. He was quick to organize relief activities, and his energetic and personal leadership in coming to the aid of victims left an indelible impression on his young students. The relief work being carried out by Soka Gakkai members in the wake of the Kobe-Osaka earthquake is true to this tradition and I am impressed and gratified by their dedication.
The Soka Gakkai headquarters in Tokyo has received a stream of condolences from around the world for the recent disaster, from such internationally known leaders as the former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev and the former Chilean president Patricio Aylwin, as well as many overseas members. We are deeply grateful for their words of support and encouragement.
Nichiren Daishonin, founder of Nichiren Buddhism, stated: "When great evil occurs, great good will follow" (Gosho 5: 161). And, "Even misfortune turns into fortune" (Hori 979).
I pray from the bottom of my heart that all the victims of the earthquake will find the courage to overcome grief and suffering and to re-establish normal lives as soon as possible. I am sure that our Soka Gakkai members in the Kobe-Osaka area will be models of strength and hope in that arduous process.
Toward a Century of Hope and Peace
Although the end of the Cold War brought down the wall that divided East and West, humankind is still far from capable of drafting a reliable blueprint for peace. Ethnic strife and regional conflicts are unceasing; the earth's environment continues to deteriorate; refugees in great numbers flee suffering and hardship on several continents. The path before us is shadowed by these and other global problems.
The twenty-first century is just around the corner. Humankind has arrived at an important crossroads. We must decide whether we will merely stand still, resigned to our end-of-century dilemmas, or aggressively address the issues we confront, the better to open the door to the new century. Can the human race turn its fate around 180 degrees, putting behind us the century of war and brutality that was the twentieth century and raising the curtain confidently on a new century of hope and peace? We are being put to the test.
The year 1995 marks an important juncture for Japan because it is the fiftieth anniversary of the end of World War II. Various endeavours to look back critically at the past half century are being undertaken, and we should take this opportunity to refresh our memories of those years. We should remember how, amid the terrible ravages of war, we craved peace as a person dying of thirst craves water.
We must sincerely aspire to attain the blessings of peace, to gain a fresh appreciation for the preciousness of life, and to bring about a lasting peace, fully aware that it is now possible. We need to be filled with burning idealism in the best sense of the term. Our crucial task is to reflect upon the past, define what has to be done in the present, and pool our wisdom to formulate a clear vision for the future. Indeed, this fiftieth anniversary offers the ideal chance to do so.
At the same time, we should remind ourselves that the horror of nuclear weapons was first known fifty years ago, in 1945. Over the past half century, rapid scientific and technological development has gone hand in hand with the threat of annihilation of the human race. Immense stockpiles of nuclear weapons hung like the Sword of Damocles over our heads while the East and West persisted in their intense confrontation. The end of the Cold War seemed to assure that the dark cloud of imminent nuclear holocaust might be cleared away, and for a while we were given the hope that a brighter future might actually break through. The intransigence of ethnic strife and the frequent outbreaks of regional warfare, however, have belied those hopes.
Humankind has faced the challenge of eradicating war since earliest times, and the sages of antiquity earnestly sought the solution to this knotty problem. The greater the destructive power of the weapons humans created, the more devastating the damage left in the wake of war. Thus peace is no longer an issue that can be ignored by any person of good conscience. Coincidentally, this year also marks the two-hundredth anniversary since the philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) wrote his famous Perpetual Peace. Kant lived at a time of constant warfare, and in his book he offers the world a prescription intended to end, once and for all, the wars that had been repeated over the centuries. He also warns that unless governments stop basing their policies on war, humankind is destined for eventual extinction. Unfortunately, Kant's warning has gone unheeded these past two centuries. We have yet to realize his ideal of permanent peace.
The present day can be considered a transitional period from the old era to a new one. Such periods have their characteristic confusion, but there is certainly no reason to be completely pessimistic. Rather, our future depends on whether or not we can muster enough hope to take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves.
It is now time for us to put the bitter lessons of this century to good use and ready ourselves for the leap forward into the third millenium. Now, more than ever, we require a vision backed by a solid philosophy, and we have to work to realize that vision through actions rooted in a strong and dynamic optimism. We may draw courage from the words of French philosopher Alain (1868-1951), who observed, "Pessimism comes from our passions; optimism from the will" (250). We must never abandon our confidence that, no matter what difficulties arise, humankind has the capacity to overcome them and forge ahead.
We also need clearly defined priorities that will help us prepare for the twenty-first century in the short time that remains. In this sense, the next five years are crucial.
Reflecting, we may wonder how poorly prepared people of the late nineteenth century were for the twentieth. One of the few notable movements at that time was the first Hague Conference of 1899, but arms reduction was never seriously discussed, and eventually the world fell into the cataclysm of World War I. In the decades that followed, the human race suffered through two indescribably tragic world wars.
At the end of the twentieth century, we have a different set of circumstances. First of all, we have the United Nations, which provides a forum for the global debates of the international community. We have also seen the development of several important movements since the 1990s began. With the United Nations playing a central role, conferences have already been held on such global concerns as the environment and development, human rights, and population. This year, the World Summit for Social Development and the World Conference on Women will be held. The major problems these conferences address will no doubt still be with us in the twenty-first century, but at least we are beginning the search for solutions. In these efforts, I sense a strong positive force of will that is different from the fin-de-sicle mentality of the nineteenth century. The question now is whether or not the conclusions reached will be put to productive use.
A Collective System to Prevent War
Now that the twenty-first century is upon us, we must ask ourselves what kind of century we ultimately want it to be. Above all, we want it to be a century without war, in which people no longer take up arms against each other. To that end, we must begin to build a global cooperative system for peace. The greatest tragedy of the twentieth century has been the loss of countless human lives in war. Including civilians, it is estimated that 22 million people died in World War I, and 60 million in World War II. One scholar called our era the "century of war dead" (Inoguchi). This folly must not be repeated in the third millenium.
After witnessing the twentieth century's two world wars, Dutch historian Johan Huizinga (1872-1945) passed harsh judgment on war-provoking militarism, calling it the most harmful form of constant cultural loss. States based on militarism, he contends, despite the rich talents and culture of their people, not only degrade the citizens of the weaker countries they conquer, but force their own into bondage. Huizinga placed his hope in future generations, saying it is up to the next epoch to demonstrate whether or not the world is able to keep out of reach of the fearsome arms of militarism.
Huizinga himself died in February 1945, before World War II ended, and thus never witnessed the "next era" of which he spoke. In the half century since, we have fortunately avoided another war engulfing the entire world, but countless lives have still been claimed in the course of armed hostilities.
In recent years, a growing number of military states have given way to democratic forms of government, a trend that brings new hope to many people. But the threat of war remains undiminished because there has been no dominant trend in the world toward disarmament, and no progress yet made in ensuring the abolition of war as an institution. Now is the time for us to clearly define our vision and ask how we can create a cooperative system for peace that will enable us to realize a world without war.
To many, I seem preoccupied with the problem of war. Why do I return to this topic every year, issuing one call for world peace after another? Why have I continued to demand that nations abolish their ministries of the army, navy, and defense and replace them with ministries of peace? Why have I insisted that a Universal Declaration Renouncing War be adopted as a U.N. resolution that will eventually develop into a Global No-War Agreement with binding power?
The answer to these questions is that war has held humankind in its irrevocable grip throughout history; it is the source of all evil. War normalizes insanity - the kind that does not hesitate to destroy human beings like so many insects, and tears all that is human and humane to shreds, producing an unending stream of refugees. It also cruelly damages our natural environment. Last year, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) published its annual report The State of the World's Children, which tells us that over the past ten years, approximately two million children have been killed in wars. This far exceeds the number of military personnel who lost their lives over the same period. Another four to five million children have been injured in war. There is nothing more tragic than to see the children who represent the future of the world, injured or dying.
As a Buddhist, I deeply believe that no individual can experience true happiness or tranquillity until we turn humankind away from its obsession with war. We have already paid a heavy price for the lesson that nothing is more tragic and cruel than war. I believe we have as our first priority an obligation to our children to open a clear and reliable path to peace in the next century.
When contemplating internal factors that can help us abolish the misery and cruelty of war, we must not forget the doctrine so famously described in the Preamble of the UNESCO Constitution: "Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed."
In Mahayana Buddhism, which is the creed of Soka Gakkai, there are ten potential conditions of life inherent in a human being, known as the ten worlds. According to this principle, people who start wars exist in the four lowest states of Hell, Hunger, Animality, and Anger, known together as the "four evil paths." Controlled directly by instinct and desire, their thoughts and actions are inevitably foolish and barbaric. Therefore, from the Buddhist point of view, the issue of how to build the "defenses of peace" within the hearts of such individuals takes precedence over any external systemic factors, and represents both the well-spring and the core of any attempt to build world peace.
U.N. Year for Tolerance
The year 1995 (also, significantly, the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the UNESCO Constitution) has been designated by the United Nations as the Year for Tolerance. Thanks to the work of UNESCO and other organizations, this designation was officially adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in December 1993.
One of the reasons behind this designation is increased recognition of the racial, ethnic, and religious intolerance that underlies the many confrontations and conflicts that persist in the aftermath of the Cold War. The international community, in other words, is coming to realize that conventional approaches based on military power no longer suffice to handle increasingly complex situations, and in any event, make it difficult to provide fundamental solutions. Thus, I see the international community groping toward tolerance as a key principle for the new philosophy of coexistence.
Here I would like to cite some of the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin, because they contain a number of key words that help me convey what I think tolerance really is. In the "The Opening of the Eyes" (Jap. Kaimoku Sho), the following famous passage appears:
This I will state. Let the gods forsake me. Let all persecutions assail me. Still I will give my life for the sake of the Law. Shariputra practiced the way of the bodhisattva for sixty kalpas, but he fell from that high position because he could not endure the ordeal of the Brahman who begged for his eye. Of those who received the seeds of Buddhahood in the time of gohyaku-jintengo or in the days of the Daitsu Buddha (sanzen-jintengo), many in later times abandoned the seeds, fell from their high condition and remained in hell because they followed evil companions.
Whether tempted by good or threatened by evil, if one casts aside the Lotus Sutra, he destines himself for hell. Here I will make a great vow. Though I might be offered the rulership of Japan if only I will abandon the Lotus Sutra, accept the teachings of the Kammuryo-ju Sutra, and look forward to rebirth in the Western Pure Land, though I might be told that my father and mother will have their heads cut off if I do not recite the Nembutsu - whatever obstacles I might encounter, so long as men of wisdom do not prove my teachings to be false, I will never yield! All other troubles are no more to me than dust before the wind. (Yampolsky 137-38)
This impassioned statement proudly proclaims both Nichiren Daishonin's unshakable faith in the truth lying in the inner realm of life and his lofty spirit as a champion of humanity. It is an example that will always shine in the annals of human history.
I say this because the concept of tolerance, which embraces freedom of religious belief, was completely alien to those who lived in Kamakura-period Japan more than 700 years ago, when the Daishonin wrote this passage. According to the Joei Code of 1232, all those who cooperated with the Kamakura shogunate were entitled to active government protection, while those who opposed the regime would be treated harshly as seditious disturbers of the peace. While other religious organizations bowed to the shogunate's authority and coveted the wealth and honour that came with official patronage, Nichiren Daishonin alone refused to yield. Because he lived by his beliefs and admonished those in power unreservedly and continuously, he was twice forced into exile (Hojo).
The Daishonin was a man whose affection for the common people was stronger even than that among blood relations, yet when faced with the corruption of authority, he did not give an inch. Though he suffered repeated persecution, he refused to carry a weapon, and never wavered in his commitment to speaking his mind, open discussion, and non-violence. This spirit is symbolized in the passage quoted above. What is more surprising is that he wrote those words while living in exile on a remote island.
Nichiren Daishonin proclaimed that he would hold fast to his beliefs. He would not be tempted into changing his religion, even if doing so might have made him the ruler of Japan. Nor would he be coerced into changing, even in the face of threats that his parents would be beheaded. No, he would change only if men of wisdom proved his teachings false. The Daishonin permitted absolutely no compromise with the truth, and this reveals his towering integrity. Moreover, he fervently believed that religious conflict, which belongs to the world of ideas, must be resolved through discussion and dialogue. His magnanimity and integrity were combined with a deep commitment to open dialogue, and these qualities are of vital importance to us today as we seek universal realization of tolerance.
The "four dicta" and other aspects of Nichiren Buddhism have prompted some to suggest that he was exclusivist and intolerant. This is a superficial view, however, because true tolerance is in no way incompatible with firm religious belief and resolute self-assertion.
Concerning this point, one of the world's most eminent religious scholars, Professor Bryan Wilson of Oxford University, made the following observation in Human Values in a Changing World, a collection of dialogues we conducted.
There is, however, a difference between conscious and actively promoted toleration and the indifferentism that can obtain within a polytheistic or syncretistic tradition, where simultaneously held, mutually contradictory beliefs are tolerated, almost in the conviction that the more religion there is, of whatever kind, the better. (315)
Applying this view to Japan, we see that although the Japanese are said to have always respected tolerance, and have experienced relatively few instances in which religious intolerance erupted into violence, this has in fact merely been a manifestation of religious indifference. The tension characteristic of spiritual engagement is conspicuously weak in Japan.
What the Japanese usually mean by tolerance is actually a form of compromise in which one party's demand is added to the other's and the sum is divided by two. The general Japanese idea of tolerance means sharing the same bed but dreaming different dreams - forming, in other words, unprincipled alliances of convenience. In contrast to this approach, personal integrity and openness to dialogue can act as two wheels on the cart that carries us forward. In the process of testing our differing beliefs against each other, I have no doubt that we can forge harmony out of confrontation, sympathy out of prejudice, and peace out of conflict. If we engage in genuine dialogue, any confrontations that may arise should prove to be simply another form of our connectedness.
Until now, the idea of tolerance has suffered from a general sense of passiveness. The tragedies perpetrated throughout history as a result of religious conflict, moreover, were so great that there has been an undeniable tendency for unprincipled compromise in the name of tolerance. Any attempt to understand Japanese tolerance that fails to take this point into account not only misses the point but is in fact dangerous. The first article of the Seventeen-Article Constitution issued in 604 by Prince Shotoku (574-622) enjoins the people of that ancient state to "hold harmony in high esteem," and this has represented the spiritual tradition of Japan ever since. Our post-war economic success is often considered inseparable from harmony and tolerance, but over-emphasis on this aspect may foster arrogance. In view of the brutality inflicted in the twentieth century by totalitarian ideologies, the rise of pluralism is perhaps inevitable. We must be careful, however, not to foolishly over-compensate in the other direction. There is a natural distinction between true tolerance and mere indifference.
Actually, Japanese tolerance is of miserable quality, impoverished in substance. Consider the current state of politics in this country, in which politicians are motivated not by ideology or policy but by calculated self-interest and sentiment. One is reminded of the pre-war era, when a lack of firm national policy resulted in the precipitous slide into the Pacific War. And our young people, those who must bear the burdens of society in the years to come - far from demonstrating a sense of spiritual tension - show signs of self-absorption, indifference to justice, and cynicism. Tolerance in the true sense should be a more dynamic concept. Quite the contrary to the apathy that spawns cynicism, the sine qua non of tolerance in our own time must be positive action arising from a sense of responsibility for others.
In October last year, I had a talk with Professor Ben-Ami Shillony of Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a distinguished scholar of Japanese history. At that time, Professor Shillony observed that the difference between human beings and animals is in the possession of ideals. Human beings are capable of living according to certain ideals. He said that this idea applies to the philosophy of Nichiren, who sought to convince others of the ideals he believed in, and the propagation of Buddhism through shakubuku. People cannot be allowed to be indifferent. Of all creatures, responsibility for others is found only among human beings, Professor Shillony said.
The Daishonin took a course of action that could only be expected of someone dedicated to the salvation of the whole human race. He worked to clarify philosophical right from wrong, and tried to remove the evils that torment people. His weapon of choice in that task, as shown by the passage from "The Opening of the Eyes," was discussion, the sole weapon for the enlightened. As followers of his teachings, we members of SGI also adhere to the principle of dialogue as the root from which a network of friendship grows. This is why we have received a sympathetic response from many different scholars and opinion leaders from around the globe.
Beginning from the Spirit of Montaigne
Let us now turn our attention to the work of Montaigne (1533-92), which greatly influenced me in my youth. Along with the Dutch scholar Erasmus and a few others, no eminent thinker is better suited to the discussion of tolerance than Montaigne. I would emphasize here, however, that Montaigne's spiritual world was miles apart from the tepid spiritual climate of Japan. Known for his tolerance, Montaigne was above all a firm believer in the importance of dialogue, repeatedly stating that discussion provided the best means for people to hammer out their differences and to pursue personal growth and discipline.
Montaigne lived in sixteenth-century France, where religious strife spawned numerous tragedies, including the St. Bartholomew Massacre of 1572 during the wars of the Huguenots. In his Essays, he notes how zeal is quite plentiful when it comes to furthering our inclinations toward hatred, cruelty, ambition, avarice, criticism, or rebellion, but when we seek to be good, benign, or temperate, it is apt to be in short supply. And he deplores the fact that though religion was intended to root out vice, instead it often provokes, even encourages or aggravates evil.
Living as he did in the midst of religious turmoil, and often witnessing people killing each other for the sake of personal gain and fanatical beliefs, Montaigne urged tolerance as the key to stopping the fighting. His doctrine was embodied after his death in the Edict of Nantes (1598), which recognized the right of heretics to freely practice their religious beliefs. Further, his report that Christians who were establishing colonies overseas were far more brutal than the idolatrous native populations they encountered, and that they committed deeds that were far less moral, helped to promote what would now be termed religious relativism. It is often pointed out that Montaigne's observations shocked contemporary Christians of good faith, and afforded them an opportunity for personal introspection. The Austrian writer Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) left us a resounding endorsement of Montaigne's doctrine and thought when he said that Montaigne was the friend of all free people. I fully agree with Zweig.
In any event, dialogue was of utmost importance to Montaigne in the context of those tumultuous times. He believed that "the most fruitful and natural exercise for our minds is, in my opinion, conversation. I find the practice of it pleasanter than anything else in life" (286). Defining an open mind as an absolute condition for conversation to take place, he observed that "no proposition astounds me, no belief offends me, however much opposed it may be to my own. There is no fantasy so frivolous or extravagant that it does not seem to me a natural product of the human mind" (287). He also asserted: "Contradictions of opinion, therefore, neither offend nor estrange me; they only arouse and exercise my mind. We run away from correction; we ought to court it and expose ourselves to it, especially when it comes in the shape of discussion, not of a school lesson" (288).
Montaigne took to heart Cicero's assertion that no debate was possible without rebuttal, and went on to define the purpose of dialogue as the search for truth: "I welcome and embrace the truth in whosoever hands I find it. I cheerfully surrender to it, and offer it my vanquished arms as soon as I see it approaching in the distance" (288). Through sentiments such as these, Montaigne reveals himself as a true spiritual king and a shining example of towering integrity engaged in open discussion. In his absolute commitment to the use of language as the ultimate proof of humanity, he also reveals a deep spiritual kinship with Nichiren Daishonin, who, as noted above, resolutely refused to change his position unless men of wisdom proved his teachings false.
To these observations I would add that a lively spirit of criticism is also indispensable at the foundation of dialogue. The confrontation between Protestantism and Catholicism ripped French society apart in Montaigne's era. There were repeated massacres on both sides, but in the midst of that madness Montaigne managed to live his life on his own terms. His unyielding spirit is described in Zweig's critical biography:
Few men on earth have fought with more sincerity and vehemence for this innermost self, their essence to be kept away from the murky and poisonous froth of the times, and few men have succeeded in saving their innermost self from the times. (15)
Montaigne himself said it was useless to engage in dialogue with a person whose views were not supported by rational, critical ability. He did not see any purpose in discussion with a person who is undisciplined or wavering in what he believes. He also stated that this ability to think critically included the capacity for rigourous self-examination.
Earlier, I quoted Professor Shillony's comment about taking responsibility for other people. When dialogue is pursued in this spirit - that is, with the intention of influencing others - it is impossible to proceed without discussing the issues of right and wrong, good and evil. This is because, as Montaigne says, the ultimate purpose of dialogue is to search for the truth, and the mutual critique developed by the participants thereby represents the sublime manifestation of the human spirit.
When I was young, my teacher and mentor Josei Toda, the second president of the Soka Gakkai, told us that "Young people are the core of Japan, because they are the ones with keen critical abilities." His fervent wish was to erase misery from the face of the earth, and he exhorted the young to fight the many evils afflicting people by thoroughly training themselves to think critically.
As I have already noted, tolerance does not mean unprincipled compromise. No matter how extensive the dialogue, nothing creative and constructive will be accomplished if we focus our attention solely on discovering points of compromise without attempting to discriminate good from evil, and lose the ability to think critically. On the contrary, such an approach is a betrayal of the quintessentially human desire to seek the truth.
Of course, endless assertions of one's own ideas can degenerate into self-righteousness and prejudice, as history so tragically and eloquently attests. How can we overcome this historical dilemma? As I argued in an address delivered at Harvard University, I believe the answer lies in developing the "greater self" (Jap. taiga) as taught in Mahayana Buddhism. Buddhist scriptures tell us that the self is its own master. They enjoin us not to be confused by others, but instead to live our lives with integrity, remaining true to ourselves. However, this "self" does not refer to the "lesser self" (Jap. shoga) or ego, but to the "greater self" that is fused with cosmic life in a web of causal relationships beyond all temporal and spatial limits. This "greater self" is another name for the openness that identifies with the suffering of all sentient beings. In the course of dealing with people in society, such a person can "take away suffering and give happiness" (Jap. bakku yoraku).
This way of life is precisely what Nichiren Daishonin risked his own life to exemplify, and is the model so fervently pursued by Josei Toda.
The "greater self" is the key, I believe, to the realization of the tolerance that makes genuine dialogue possible. And tolerance can help us create a new epoch of coexistence, shining the light of hope into the dark shroud of fin-de-sicle pessimism.
As illustrated by the progress toward coexistence in the Republic of South Africa and in the Middle East, an era of reconciliation seems to be developing in the international community. We cannot ignore the crucial role played by dialogue in breaking these vicious circles of hatred and conflict. As I have maintained for many years, whereas applying external, hard power is occasionally effective in pressuring people to move in certain directions, persuasion based on mutual understanding and consent is an important key to success in international negotiations.
In practice, it is extremely difficult to realize the goal of coexistence by steadily implementing each point of agreement. Full peace cannot be achieved unless the citizens who support the negotiators are positively interested in doing so, because peace itself is an active state built upon a firm will. It is crucial, therefore, to establish a philosophy of coexistence that is convincing to the general population.
If the word "coexistence" is to have any meaning amid the increasingly powerful centrifugal forces that threaten to tear the global community apart, we must first strengthen the peace that has already been achieved in different parts of the world. That requires the broad understanding and extensive cooperation of the international community. If the first stirrings of peace are allowed to die in one region, it will seriously affect other regions as well, ultimately leading to historical regression. To mark the United Nations' Year for Tolerance, UNESCO drafted a "Declaration on Tolerance," which concludes with this statement: "Tolerance must be the new name of peace." To achieve this, we must bring forth what Montaigne called a host of "world citizens," when he talked about Socrates. This is why I have long advocated that the world's religions should compete to produce as many world citizens as possible. Once again, I wish to emphasize that two things are essential for such competition to take place: towering integrity and open dialogue.
Now let us look at some specific ways we can construct a global framework for realizing a world without war. This year, the United Nations marks the fiftieth anniversary of its founding, an important milestone. Under normal circumstances, it would be an event worthy of heartfelt celebration, but in fact the environment in which the United Nations operates has grown increasingly difficult. Harassed by the frequent regional conflicts that have erupted since the end of the Cold War, the international community looked to U.N. peace-keeping operations for a solution, but its expectations were to be betrayed, as the situations encountered in Somalia and later in Bosnia have demonstrated. U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali's announcement, in a report to the Security Council at the beginning of this year, that he would not dispatch peace enforcement units for the foreseeable future, is symbolic of the failure of the U.N. peace-keeping framework as it now stands.
Boutros-Ghali's statement represents his personal revision of a policy previously adopted by the United Nations for bolstering its peace-keeping operations with military strength. It reflects the tough recognition of the fact that dispatching peace enforcement units with the authority to use force is beyond the capacity of the United Nations. Given that peace enforcement efforts have not gone well, and that the future of continually expanding operations remains unpredictable, Boutros-Ghali's change of direction was probably a wise one. If the United Nations were to become embroiled in a conflict without the assent of the combatants, and were to impose its will by force, it would simply become one of the combatants itself. As a neutral organization, the United Nations must be extremely careful in this regard. Boutros-Ghali's revision of policy does not mean, however, that the importance of the U.N. role in maintaining and creating peace has diminished in any way.
It is imperative to break out of the narrow framework defined by peace-keeping operations and adopt a wider perspective that will enable us to comprehensively re-assent the U.N. mission as it relates to peace and security. The principal function of the organization is to apply "soft power" to encourage cooperation among nations, harmonize their actions, and construct systems and rules dedicated to peace. As long as this is so, the United Nations must think of ways to maximize the efficacy of "soft power." For member nations, as well as for U.N.-supporting non-governmental organizations, the fiftieth anniversary of this world body provides a golden opportunity to give serious consideration to this issue.
Since its founding, the United Nations has depended primarily on the Security Council to preserve peace. Composed of five permanent members with veto powers, the council did not function effectively during the harsh Cold War era. Once the confrontation between East and West eased, however, it was hoped that the United Nations would play a more active role in world affairs. Unfortunately, it would seem that the world body is at a loss as to how to fulfil these renewed expectations. It is clear that the current system centred on a handful of major powers in the Security Council has reached its limit in terms of ensuring worldwide security. This problem will not be solved through such simple reforms as permitting Japan and Germany to join the council's inner circle.
The crux of the problem is that the Security Council has failed to respond to the changing times, which demand a radical transformation of our conception of security. Recently, there have been attempts to formulate a concept of "human security" (e.g., CGG) that transcends the old, limited interpretation of security as something achieved by and for the state. In today's world, where humanity and human rights face crises in many forms, this concept places top priority on human - rather than institutional - factors. It also ties in with the new movement to bring a personal face, the face of humanity, into prominence at the United Nations, which until now has been dominated by the interests of sovereign states.
Security cannot be achieved without taking into account the survival and well-being of the people affected, as well as such issues as justice and freedom. We live in a time when the basic rights that enable people to live in peace are threatened in many ways. Undeniably, these rights have been neglected because of the excessive priority given to the interests of states. The old security system, which openly uses hard power, or military strength, is already out of sync with the times. We must now focus all our wisdom on the task of establishing, as quickly as possible, a new "human security" system at the United Nations that will comprehensively address the forces that menace people on an individual level.
Broadly defined, the concept of human security cannot be achieved on the basis of narrowly proscribed perceptions of peace. Rather, it is intimately linked to the idea of development. Last year, Boutros-Ghali submitted his "Agenda for Development" to the U.N. General Assembly. In it, he presents a comprehensive outline of the five interrelated forces that propel sustainable development: peace, economic growth, environmental protection, social justice, and democracy. This report will no doubt be a focus at the social development summit to be held this March.
Building on the doctrine expounded in Boutros-Ghali's agenda, the United Nations should assume the leadership for world peace with a new vision. In cases of ethnic strife, for example, the United Nations' old method of intervening only after a conflict has entered an impossible quagmire has clearly reached its limits. Instead, it should work to prevent ethnic conflicts from arising in the first place by vigorously encouraging the above-mentioned five developmental forces in the countries concerned. To achieve this, the duties and authority of the Economic and Social Council must be radically expanded and strengthened. This is the only way the organization will be able to perform its security function within a changing international environment: by expanding its Economic and Social Council, and having it work in tandem with a Security Council that has itself adopted a new concept of security.
To abolish armed conflict from the world, it is essential to find a way to protect disadvantaged minority populations within the borders of sovereign states, and to help guarantee their human rights and well-being. Economic development alone is not enough to satisfy the desires of these people, and it is important that their silent appeal be heard. The United Nations has a Trusteeship Council, which is charged with improving the welfare and promoting the self-governance and independence of people living in U.N. trust territories (mostly colonies). Now that most colonies have achieved independence, the Trusteeship Council's mission is generally thought to be completed. I propose that this body be given a new mandate: to preserve cultural and ethnic diversity (particularly in war-ravaged areas like the former Yugoslavia) and to seek comprehensive solutions to the problems that accompany such diversity. I also suggest that the Trusteeship Council work in close conjunction with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Mounting Pressure of International Opinion
In the first section of Article 1 of the U.N. Charter, it states that the purpose of the United Nations is to "maintain international peace and security" by resolving armed conflict "in conformity with the principles of justice and international law." As is evident from the course of events since World War II, however, the Security Council, which is primarily responsible for fulfilling this mandate, has been unable to adequately do so.
In contemplating what international society will be like in the twenty-first century, I believe it is crucial to clarify and strengthen the international law for peace. This could be accomplished through the further development and reinforcement of current international humanitarian law (the Hague and Geneva conventions), and through the creation of a binding system that will encourage greater compliance.
For all its problems, the United Nations already exists and nearly all the world's sovereign states belong to it. This is significant. Not even at the height of tensions during the Cold War did either the United States or the Soviet Union withdraw from membership. Now we must establish a closer relationship between this organization and international law, and promote the further codification of interaction among nations.
In December of last year, the U.N. General Assembly formally adopted a nuclear disarmament resolution proposed by Japan for the total abolition of nuclear weapons. The resolution notes that the potential for creating a world free from the threat of nuclear war has improved with the end of the Cold War, and calls on all nations that have not yet signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to do so as quickly as possible. It also urges nations that already possess nuclear weapons to work harder toward disarmament, with the ultimate goal of their complete abolishment. Finally, it asks all nations to implement disarmament and non-proliferation agreements for weapons of mass destruction.
Concerning whether or not the use or threatened use of nuclear weapons violates international law, the General Assembly also adopted a resolution requesting an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice. Of course, since General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, some parties treat them with contempt. I do not share this view, however. Nuclear weapons are capable of destroying all human and other life on Earth, so the question of how to deal with them is of universal concern to international society and calls for sound, humane, moral judgments. Whether or not a resolution is legally binding should not be of primary concern.
In strengthening international law for peace, it is best to appeal to people's conscience, and gradually build up an atmosphere conducive to peace. Even though the resolutions adopted by the General Assembly lack binding power, we must still strive to create a world in which they are respected as expressions of the general will of humankind. This is because it is ultimately impossible to build up international law as a detailed body of penal provisions stipulated one law at a time.
Similarly, we must conclude that the current state of the United Nations - with the Security Council in a position of preeminence and the General Assembly playing a subordinate role - is undesirable. If we are to enhance the qualities of what should become a parliament of humanity, I believe we should do
all we can to strengthen and further empower the General Assembly. With the end of the Cold War and the advent of peace in the Middle East, world tensions are easing. Discussions conducted at the General Assembly are therefore moving away from confrontation and toward cooperation, with increasingly fruitful results. The time is ripe.
If we hope to maintain peace according to the principles of justice and international law, we must also strengthen the International Court of Justice. In addition, we need a new international tribunal for trying war crimes. In this respect, the United Nations' adoption of a resolution to establish an international criminal court can be considered a step in the right direction. In light of the many ethnic conflicts that have erupted, there is an urgent need for such an institution. One of the most important issues in the twenty-first century will be the buttressing of international legislative, executive, and judiciary functions, with the United Nations as the focal point.
Expansion of Nuclear Weapon-free Zones
To chart a firm course toward a world without war, we must address the problem of weapons, including nuclear weapons. Especially this year, which marks the fiftieth anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we should renew our commitment to finding an answer to humanity's earnest prayer for the abolition of nuclear arms.
Recently, we have at long last begun to see some positive developments on the horizon. One is the decision by Ukraine to formally sign the NPT. Another is the long-awaited implementation of the First Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I) between the United States and the former Soviet Union. Also, the United States and Russia are expected to ratify the START II treaty and proceed with nuclear dismantlement once the treaty goes into effect. Finally, as I have already mentioned, the U.N. General Assembly's formal adoption of the nuclear disarmament resolution, which takes the unprecedented step of calling for the total abolition of nuclear weapons, marks another significant development.
This spring, the United Nations will meet to reevaluate the NPT that went into effect twenty-five years ago. The treaty's purpose was twofold: to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to countries that do not currently possess them (horizontal proliferation), and to prevent existing nuclear powers from expanding their arsenals (vertical proliferation). Existing nuclear powers have been slow to reduce their stockpiles, however, and for this reason, many of the non-nuclear signatories have expressed reluctance to approve an indefinite extension of the treaty. In their view, things should not be allowed to become fixed in their present state. Article 6 of the treaty requires all signatories to adopt effective measures to achieve nuclear arms reduction and to pursue complete overall disarmament in good faith. At the upcoming meeting, the nuclear powers should clarify how they plan to do away with their nuclear weapons, and commit themselves to implementing those plans.
One important step toward a ban on nuclear weapons is the expansion of nuclear weapon-free zones. Generally, such zones are defined by the following two restrictions: 1) no country within the zone can engage in testing, manufacturing, or acquiring nuclear weapons; and 2) no country outside the zone is allowed to test, deploy, or use nuclear weapons, or to make nuclear threats, within the zone. To date, nuclear weapon-free zones have been established in Latin America and the Caribbean (under the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America, Tlatelolco) and in the South Pacific (under the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty, Rarotonga). Other areas that could potentially become nuclear-free zones include the member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and of the Organization of African Unity (OAU).
Nuclear weapon-free zones require two parallel agreements: one among nations within the zone, and one with nations outside. Without the latter, no zone can be meaningfully realized. It is crucial that we have an international framework to gain accession of outside powers to such agreements. Currently, the NPT is the most workable framework we have. Article 7 stipulates the following: "Nothing in this Treaty affects the right of any group of States to conclude regional treaties in order to assure the total absence of nuclear weapons in their respective territories." This approach is too passive, however, and the provision should be amended to promote the expansion of nuclear-free zones.
Another international framework is bilateral agreements, but a shift should be made toward multilateral negotiations that will seek to place nuclear weapons under the supervision of the United Nations. Our final goal should be to conclude a treaty that bans nuclear weapons. Bilateral negotiations inevitably get hung up on the concept of deterrence, which makes it extremely difficult to attain ultimate abolition. Even if both parties agree to reduce the number of weapons in their stockpiles, such accords are unable to halt qualitative improvement through technological development. Thus, in substantive terms, the magnitude of the threat and the destructive power involved are not reduced at all. I believe that nuclear weapons should be dealt with in the same way as biological and chemical weapons, with treaties that forbid their manufacture, possession, and use.
The next issues that demand our attention are conventional arms control and weapons exports.
Although an international regulatory framework is being constructed for weapons of mass destruction (atomic, biological, and chemical weapons), there are almost no regulations for conventional weapons. With the world overflowing with weaponry, any attempt to usher in an era of peace can only end as an empty fantasy. We are confronted with the indomitable task of reducing and dismantling a military industry that churned out huge numbers of weapons during the Cold War. Apparently, the United States and Russia are making little progress in efforts to convert munitions factories to civilian use, primarily because of a lack of capital. Weapons manufacturers that can no longer rely on the patronage of their own governments have launched campaigns to export their products to developing countries overseas.
In 1991, the U.N. General Assembly adopted a registration system for the transfer of weapons that was jointly proposed by Japan and the European Community (EC). Implementation began in 1992, but because the resolution is non-binding, arms export reports are voluntarily submitted at the discretion of the member countries. Unless reports are made mandatory as quickly as possible, the system will be ineffectual in controlling the activities of the merchants of death.
The Iran-Iraq War lasted eight long years because the combatants had access to weapons supplied by other countries. Arms exports also strengthened Iraq's military to the point of igniting the Gulf War. I believe the advanced industrialized countries are primarily responsible for the failure of the international community to make any progress in regulating weapons deals. The fact that the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council are responsible for more than 80 percent (Grimmett) of worldwide arms exports can only be described as abnormal. Certainly, it seriously undermines the credibility of these countries as guardians of world peace. Though it may be difficult to make the weapons transfer registration system mandatory immediately, the five major exporters should at least reach some agreement among themselves concerning the regulation of weapons exports. I believe Japan should take the international initiative on this issue because of its official policy forbidding export of weapons.
Last September, I had the pleasure of talking with Mr. Oscar Arias S nchez, the former President of the Republic of Costa Rica, who has played a leading role in promoting peace in Central America. Mr. Arias S nchez praised the "Nuclear Arms: Threat to Our World" exhibition that has toured many countries under SGI auspices, and expressed the hope that it could be brought to Costa Rica, which has publicly declared its commitment to disarmament and neutrality. He also talked about his concept of a "world disarmament fund," which would collect the excess funds generated by disarmament and use them to conquer poverty and promote education in Third World countries. I myself have long advocated such a policy, and completely agree with Mr. Arias S nchez's proposal.
At our meeting, Mr. Arias S nchez also proposed that Third World countries follow a three-point policy of "demilitarisation," "disarmament," and "armed forces dismantlement," and expressed his approval of the demilitarisation of Costa Rica's neighbour, Panama. This is the first time in history that these two nations have existed side-by-side without armies. We have no reason, therefore, to be pessimistic about our current situation. Because of many factors, war has already become an exercise in futility, and there is a spreading realization that taking up arms does not pay.
Of course, these developments apply primarily to advanced nations, and there are some who believe that armed conflict will continue in the former socialist countries and the poor nations of the Third World. Certainly, when we encounter such abominable words as "ethnic cleansing," we cannot but wonder if the human race has made any progress at all. Nevertheless, under the watchful eye of international opinion, it is gradually becoming impossible to stage an invasive or otherwise nakedly aggressive war. If we maintain our faith in the future of humankind and consciously work to close the gap between North and South, I am confident that we will find our way to a brighter future. In this effort, I believe the resources and contributions of the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will be in greater demand than ever. These organizations are creating an international civil society on a global scale by working in fields that transcend national boundaries and ethnic groups, such as human rights, humanitarian aid, and peace education.
The Reunion of Nations and Peace in Asia
Before ending, let me add a few thoughts about the past fifty years. Although a half century has now passed since the end of World War II, there are still many war-related problems that remain unresolved, such as the issue of the "comfort women" who were forced to provide sexual services for Japanese troops. Many people still suffer cruelly from the wounds of that war, making it impossible to say the war is over.
During the war, the Soka Gakkai's founder and first president, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, was imprisoned by Japan's militarist regime and he died a martyr's death. Our second president, Josei Toda, was also forced to spend two years in jail. Militarism is truly our enemy. What has haunted me ever since the war is the tremendous suffering that was inflicted on the peoples of Asia by the Japanese military. Japan must never forget its history of aggression. It has been my unswerving conviction that we must deeply reflect upon our past actions, pursue friendly exchange and interaction with the peoples of Asia, and rebuild the broken foundations of peace. This conviction has been the driving force behind my continuing efforts to promote peace in Asia, both in word and in deed.
The situation in three areas in particular has had tremendous importance for Asian peace: China, Vietnam, and the Korean Peninsula. China's re-entry into the international community and the establishment of friendly Sino-Japanese relations has been one of my chief concerns for many years. I will not go into detail here, but I believe that, in my own way, I have taken some rather bold steps on this front, and pride myself on the steady results that have been achieved.
The Korean War began on June 25, 1950. On May 3 of the following year, Josei Toda became the second president of the Soka Gakkai. At an extraordinary general meeting held earlier on March 11, Toda mentioned the Korean conflict, expressing his deep sympathy and compassion for the people who suffered so cruelly amidst the fires of war. He also passionately voiced his absolute commitment to building peace in Asia. I was 23 at the time, and the words my mentor spoke then remain vividly etched in my mind. Although overt hostilities in that gruesome war ended in a cease-fire three years after the outbreak, the Korean people are still divided, families have been torn apart, and many other issues remain unresolved.
The cease-fire agreement signed in July 1953 is the same agreement in force today. Direct talks between the leaders of the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) almost took place last year, but the death of North Korean President Kim Il-Sung put the talks on hold. The prospects are thus uncertain.
As for Vietnam, the flames of war burned without respite from the end of World War II until very recently. The long war with France produced many victims, and once France was defeated, a new one came along to continue the sufferings of the people. I became president of the Soka Gakkai in 1960, and in December of that year the South Vietnam People's Liberation Front (the Vietcong) was formed to intensify fighting against government troops. Also in that year, growing confrontation resulted in a rift between the Soviet Union and China, the two most influential countries in the Communist world.
In December 1964, in Okinawa, which itself bears the scars of war and has been a symbol and focus of the post-war peace movement, I began writing my novel The Human Revolution. It was first serialized in the Seikyo Shimbun newspaper in January 1965, and in February of that year
American planes started bombing North Vietnam. The war escalated to increase casualties among young American soldiers as well as the Vietnamese people.
The spread of the Vietnam War deepened the confrontation between the United States, on the one hand, and China, the Soviet Union, and other countries of the Communist bloc, on the other. It was even feared that the situation could lead to a direct Sino-American show-down.
Believing that something had to be done to reduce these tensions in Asia, I made a proposal for establishing peace in Vietnam, which I presented on November 3, 1966, before an audience of more than 10,000 young people at the Youth Division's 15th General Meeting. My proposal called for an immediate cease fire, the holding of a world peace conference attended by all concerned parties (including the Vietcong), the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam, and the provision of economic aid to both North and South Vietnam.
On August 24, 1967, at the Student Division's 10th General Meeting, I stated that the intensified bombing of North Vietnam by the U.S. Air Force had already brought us to the brink of a Sino-American war. I called on the United States to stop its bombing missions immediately, and to simultaneously cease all military activity and troop deployment in South Vietnam, beginning with the demilitarized zone. Based on these principles, I also sent a letter to U.S. President Richard Nixon in January 1973 urging an end to the war.
Today's unified Vietnam was born when the former South Vietnamese government fell in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) in 1975, but the country continues to face many difficulties. Nevertheless, a great stride toward normalization of U.S.-Vietnamese relations was made in February of last year, when President Bill Clinton lifted all economic sanctions against Vietnam. At a meeting in Paris held the following November, fifteen Asian and Western European countries agreed to commit US$2 billion to promote economic reform in Vietnam. U.S.-Vietnam relations were officially re-established this month. In addition, Vietnam is scheduled to become an ASEAN member some time this year. It is a matter of great joy for the people of Vietnam to be given the opportunity to develop their country in peace.
Last summer, SGI cooperated with the Vietnam Psychology and Pedagogy Association, the Committee for Children's Care and Protection of Vietnam and other organizations to hold a "World Boys and Girls Art Exhibition: This World Is Ours" in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Do Muoi sent his congratulations to the exhibition, which was attended by Vice President Nguyen Thi Binh and many other distinguished guests.
In his message, General Secretary Do Muoi made the following statement: "On the occasion of this exhibition, it is my unceasing hope that the youth of Vietnam and the youth of the world will always live in happiness and peace, and be able to fulfil their own beautiful dreams." Having earnestly desired just such an outcome throughout the long years since the end of World War II, I responded with deep emotion to the general secretary's words.
I hereby renew my commitment to contribute all I can to the international environment of peace, while working for a brighter future for Asia and the world by promoting mutual understanding and deeper ties of friendship through educational and cultural exchange.
Since the end of World War II, Vietnam and the two Koreas have had much in common. They have walked paths far removed from peace, and their once unified people have learned the tragedy of division into northern and southern states. Both peoples have been forced to aim their weapons at their own brothers and sisters against the background of foreign intervention.
The war in Vietnam ended in 1975, and in July of the following year the North and South were reunited as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The two Koreas, on the other hand, are still searching for the road to peace, interchange, and cooperation. The greatest stumbling block to improved relations has been North Korea's nuclear development program. Although agreement has been reached between Washington and Pyongyang concerning this issue, strong opposition has surfaced in the U.S. Congress, and many obstacles still lie ahead. Nevertheless, the significance of the agreements that have been reached through dialogue between North and South Korea, and between the United States and North Korea, should not be underestimated.
Also, we must not allow ourselves to be emotionally swayed by the vicissitudes of the dialogue process, or become pessimistic when the progress is slow in implementing agreements that are reached. A peaceful future can only be created gradually, through the accumulated results of many talks and the slow but steady realization of each agreement as it is achieved.
Because of its gravity, the North Korean nuclear weapons issue is expected to take a long time to resolve. The recent U.S.-North Korea agreement addresses two issues: U.S. assistance to enable North Korea to convert to light-water nuclear reactors, and the removal of spent fuel rods. Neither of these issues can be settled quickly. Apart from long-term problems, however, there are a host of positive steps that can be taken immediately. Many urgent issues, such as the reunion of families split apart by the North-South partition, demand swift action both for humanitarian reasons and because of the failing health of the people affected, who are now elderly.
For its part, South Korea has presented a number of specific proposals in addition to promoting general interaction with the North among scholars and business people. These include joint projects of various kinds: a survey of the ecology of the demilitarized zone; a survey of the Yellow Sea; the standardization of Korean scientific and technical terms; development of continental shelf resources; the establishment of a research laboratory; and the development of refined coal utilization and related technologies. All of these proposals could be pursued to the mutual benefit of North and South.
To summarize, then, we should promote interaction between North and South Korea in fields where cooperation is possible, and immediately implement activities that have already been agreed upon, such as the reunion of families. Work should also begin on projects that will inevitably prove essential in the future, such as the establishment of railways, roads, and sea and air routes. Through these undertakings, we can expect new prospects to open up for the future.
I am convinced that the key to national reconciliation lies in the slow but steady construction of relationships based on trust and cooperation, beginning wherever such relationships are possible.
Youth Are the Hope of the New Age
Last November, the "Asia Youth Peace Music Festival" was held in the Fukuoka Dome in Fukuoka to celebrate both the Soka Gakkai's 65th anniversary and the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations. One of the presentations was made by a group of young Koreans performing a traditional folk dance. As I listened to the lively, joyful rhythms and watched the animated dancers, I was struck by the vigorous, phoenix-like dynamism of the people, and strongly felt the advent of a new age. For the sake of the future that lies before these young people, it is my fervent hope that steady progress be made toward peace in Asia during the coming year.
On January 26, 1995, SGI turned twenty years old. In all parts of the world, members have striven continuously to fulfil their respective missions and responsibilities. I would like to express my deepest respect and gratitude to these dedicated people for their efforts. At the same time, I ask them to join me in a pledge to continue our endeavour to extend the reach of a viable movement for world peace and for more dynamic human solidarity.
Now, let us reaffirm SGI's basic tenets.
The first goal of SGI members is to be good citizens of their own countries, and to contribute to the prosperity of their respective societies while showing proper regard for their own culture, customs, and laws.
The second is to work toward the realization of a permanent peace and to promote human culture and education on the basis of the Buddhist teachings of Nichiren Daishonin, which revolve around the sanctity of life.
The third goal for SGI members is to reject war and all other forms of violence, and to do everything possible to bring happiness to the human race and prosperity to the world. Two important ways to achieve this is to abolish nuclear weapons and realize a world that is free from war. Upholding the spirit of the U.N. Charter, members must cooperate in efforts to maintain world peace.
With the banner of humanism raised high, let us march forward together, creating an ever-expanding network of friendship throughout the world.
January 26, 1995
Copyright 1995 by Soka Gakkai
All rights reserved
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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.
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