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Peace Proposal

2014 Peace Proposal in Full

Value Creation for Global Change: Building Resilient and Sustainable Societies

by Daisaku Ikeda
President, Soka Gakkai International
January 26, 2014

To commemorate January 26, the anniversary of the founding of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), I would like to offer thoughts on how we can redirect the currents of the twenty-first century toward greater hope, solidarity and peace in order to construct a sustainable global society, one in which the dignity of each individual shines with its inherent brilliance.

Last year saw certain hopeful developments, such as signs of recovery in the world economy and a trend toward reductions in military expenditures. At the same time, however, international and domestic conflicts have given rise to humanitarian crises of increasing severity. Further, natural disasters and extreme weather events have caused enormous suffering in numerous locations throughout the world.

Of particularly grave concern has been the ongoing civil war in Syria, now entering its fourth year. This brutal conflict has forced more than 2.3 million people to seek refuge in other countries and displaced 6.5 million people within Syria.[1] Every effort must be made toward the earliest realization of a cease-fire so that humanitarian assistance can reach all those in need and negotiations toward a peaceful resolution to the conflict are pursued.

In November of last year, the Philippines was struck by the largest, most powerful typhoon in recorded history, leaving in excess of 6,000 people dead and forcing more than 4 million storm victims from their homes.[2] The international community must expand its efforts to respond to such humanitarian crises, preventing a further deterioration of conditions and bringing relief to refugees and those otherwise affected.

Together with such response capabilities, and in light of the increasing incidence of disasters and extreme weather events in recent years, there has been growing stress on the importance of enhancing the resilience of human societies—preparing for threats, managing crises and facilitating recovery.

Resilience is, of course, a term originally derived from physics, describing the elasticity or ability of a material to return to its original form after having been subjected to an external stress. By analogy, resilience has come to be used in a wide range of fields to express the capacity of societies to recover from severe shocks, such as environmental destruction or economic crisis. In the case of natural disasters, improving resilience means enhancing the entire spectrum of capacities—from efforts to prevent and mitigate damage to measures that aid the afflicted and support the often long and laborious process of recovery.

To this end, policy and institutional responses—such as strengthening the seismic resistance of structures and renewing outdated infrastructure—are of course important. But the human element is also critical. As the American writers Andrew Zolli and Ann Marie Healy have written, “In our travels, wherever we found strong social resilience, we also found strong communities.”[3]

We need to recognize the importance of fostering, on a day-to-day basis, the “social capital” of interconnection and networks among people living in a locality. More than anything, the will and vitality of the people living in the community are key.

Resilience is one of the topics in my ongoing dialogue with the peace researcher and activist Professor Kevin P. Clements. We agree that it is not enough to respond after the fact, as is often the case with natural disasters; it is necessary to effect a transformation of the very foundations of society, to move from a culture of war to a culture of peace, as has been called for by the United Nations.

If we are to realize the rich possibilities inherent in the concept of resilience, we will need to expand and recast our understanding of what it means. Resilience, in other words, should not be thought of as simply our capacity to prepare for and respond to threats. Rather, we should think of it in terms of realizing a hopeful future, rooted in people’s natural desire to work together toward common goals and to sense progress toward those goals in a tangible way. It should be seen as an integral aspect of humankind’s shared project to create the future—a project in which anyone anywhere can participate and which lays the solid foundations for a sustainable global society.

When I think about this challenge, the words of the great twentieth-century historian Arnold J. Toynbee (1889–1975) come to mind: “But we are not doomed to make history repeat itself; it is open to us, through our own efforts, to give history, in our own case, some new and unprecedented turn.”[4]

To me, this is the challenge of creating value—the process by which each of us, in our respective roles and capacities, strives to create that value which is ours alone to realize in order to benefit our fellow citizens, society as a whole and the future.

On the occasion of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), I emphasized that a renewed focus on humanity, reforming and opening up the inner capacities of our lives, is key to enabling effective change and empowerment on a global scale.

This is what we in the SGI call human revolution. Its focus is empowerment that brings forth the limitless possibilities of each individual. As such, the full significance of human revolution is not realized while it remains confined to a change in the inner life. Rather, the courage and hope that arise from this inner change must enable people to face and break through even the most intractable realities, a process of value creation that ultimately transforms society. The steady accumulation of changes on the individual and community levels paves the path for humanity to surmount the global challenges we face.

As this process of global transformation advances, smiles return to the faces of those who had been sunk in suffering. People thus empowered to realize the full scope of their possibilities willingly unite in solidarity to confront global issues. The challenge of value creation is that of linking the micro and the macro, the individual and the societal, in ways that reinforce positive transformation on both planes.

In this proposal, I will focus on three aspects of value creation, through which we can not only enhance social resilience but also enable progress toward a sustainable global society:

  • Value creation that always takes hope as its starting point;
  • Value creation of people working together to resolve issues; and
  • Value creation that calls forth the best in each of us.

Value creation that always takes hope as its starting point

On April 2, 2013, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the landmark Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The treaty, which will regulate the international trade in conventional arms from small arms to battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships, is the first global legally binding regulation of the arms trade.

Once again, the concerted and united efforts of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) played an important role in the process leading up to the adoption of the treaty, as was the case with the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions. These are inspiring examples of how, when civil society joins hands in efforts to realize a clear mission, it is possible to give history “some new and unprecedented turn.”

Over the years, I have repeatedly stressed the need for establishing an international framework to regulate the arms trade. As such, I strongly hope that the Arms Trade Treaty will enter into force and be implemented as soon as possible.

The unrestricted trade and proliferation of weapons has contributed to unspeakable atrocities and grave violations of human rights. Our planet continues to be wracked by violent conflict, civil unrest and violence perpetrated by armed groups or organized crime; every day, countless people are robbed of their lives or suffer serious physical and mental harm.

Two years ago, Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman for speaking out in favor of education for girls in her native Pakistan. Despite sustaining near-fatal injuries, she made a miraculous recovery and has since continued to speak out for women’s rights and education for girls. In her speech at the UN Headquarters in New York on July 12 last year, she expressed her unwavering resolve as follows:

Nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died; strength, power and courage were born. … I am the same Malala. My ambitions are the same, my hopes are the same, my dreams are the same.[5]

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai was born on July 12, 1997, in Mingora, Pakistan. As a child, she became an advocate for girls’ education in the face of the Taliban’s suppression of women’s rights. This resulted in the Taliban issuing a death threat against her, and on October 9, 2012, a gunman attempted to assassinate Malala as she was traveling home from school.

On her sixteenth birthday, July 12, 2013, she addressed the UN Youth Assembly where she called out: “Let us pick up our books and our pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution.” In that same year, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Despite the persistent threats she receives, Malala is inspired to persevere by the fervent wish that the countless women and children who continue to suffer from abuse, violence and oppression will be able to stand up and speak for themselves.

When people are exposed to calamities and disasters—unanticipated dangers such as natural disasters and economic crises, or persistent dangers such as political oppression and violations of human rights—there is a risk that they will succumb to despair out of overwhelming fear, grief and pain. However, if we relinquish hope and are paralyzed by helplessness, we not only allow the problems to persist but can inadvertently contribute to the proliferation of similar problems elsewhere.

The Austrian psychologist Viktor E. Frankl (1905–97), known for his book Man’s Search for Meaning about his experiences in Nazi concentration camps during World War II, asserted that suffering becomes meaningful when it is endured for others, for some greater purpose—only then can we find within ourselves the light of humanity to dispel the darkness of despair.[6] What is important, he stressed, is one’s attitude and the manner in which we face the cruel blows of unavoidable fate: human beings have the inherent capacity to uncover and grasp the meaning of life until they draw their last breath.[7] Frankl called this act of mustering the resources of the human spirit in response to misfortune “attitudinal value” (Einstellungswerte).

In other words, if one can rise to the challenge of enduring the most terrible afflictions and situations, maintaining the faith that life has meaning, one can transform personal tragedy into a triumph for humanity. This is the work of creating value.

At the same time Frankl was struggling to survive the Nazi death camps during World War II, Soka Gakkai founding president Tsunesaburo Makiguchi (1871–1944) was arrested and imprisoned for refusing to submit to the thought control imposed by the Japanese militarist government. In terms of the light it casts on the capacities of the human spirit, Frankl’s idea of attitudinal value resonates with the thinking of Makiguchi, who emphasized that the purpose of education was to cultivate what he called “character value” (jinkaku kachi).

The term “Soka”—value creation—used in the title of Makiguchi’s major work Soka kyoikugaku taikei (The System of Value Creating Pedagogy), arose from a discussion with his closest disciple Josei Toda (1900–58). Toda was an educator, like Makiguchi, and became the second president of the Soka Gakkai after the war. Next year will mark the eighty-fifth anniversary of the book’s publication.

Makiguchi described a person who possesses character value as the kind of individual whose presence is always sought after and appreciated in times of crisis even if they may not otherwise attract much attention. Such people always function as a unifying force in society.[8]

Former South African President Nelson Mandela, who passed away last year, manifested just such character value. His life served as a beacon of hope and courage to people around the world.

President Mandela was incarcerated for standing up against the notorious system of racial discrimination known as apartheid. During his twenty-seven-year imprisonment, from which he emerged triumphant, he faced periods of near utter despair. At one point, he was informed of his mother’s death, shortly followed by the news that his wife had been detained and that his eldest son had died in an “accident.” However, even under such extreme circumstances, he remained undefeated. In a letter intended for a friend he wrote, “Hope is a powerful weapon even when nothing else may remain.”[9]

Some years later, when his granddaughter was born, he named her Zaziwe, meaning hope—the hope that had been his constant companion over the 10,000 arduous days he spent in prison. He later wrote, “I was convinced that this child would be a part of a new generation of South Africans for whom apartheid would be a distant memory—that was my dream.”[10] He vowed to fight until the day that dream would become a reality, enduring all with a tenacious spirit.

I fondly recall that on the two occasions I had the privilege of speaking with President Mandela, we exchanged views on ways to build a society in which all people are treated with dignity and respect, a cause we both held close to our hearts as we walked our respective paths in life. I was particularly struck by his strong assertion that the abolition of apartheid, which opened a new chapter in the course of history, was in no way something he accomplished on his own, but rather a culmination of the determined efforts of countless individuals. I believe that this conviction is expressed in the following words from the speech he gave in May 1994, just before his election as president of South Africa was announced:

You have shown such a calm, patient determination to reclaim this country as your own, and now the joy that we can loudly proclaim from the rooftops—Free at last! Free at last![11]

I would say that the qualities President Mandela manifested represent hope that is rooted in character value—a capacity that is not limited to extraordinary individuals but can be realized by any person. For his part, Frankl manifested the hope of attitudinal value—our ability to choose and experience meaning in even the most severe circumstances until the last moment of life. The challenge of value creation is imbued with and arises from both these aspects of hope.

The power of hope

The Buddhist philosophy embraced by members of the SGI—specifically, that of the thirteenth-century Buddhist reformer Nichiren (1222–82)—urges people to live with a sense of purposefulness that can be expressed as a commitment to fulfilling a profound pledge or vow. It encourages people to regard their immediate surroundings as the arena for fulfilling their mission in life, even when beset by great difficulties, and to aspire to create personal narratives that will be a source of enduring hope.

This is the way of living, the way of perceiving life, that Nichiren taught his followers. Even within the political and social strictures of feudal Japan, he loudly proclaimed spiritual freedom as an inviolable right, asserting: “Even if it seems that, because I was born in the ruler’s domain, I follow him in my actions, I will never follow him in my heart.”[12]

At that time, Japan was wracked by a series of natural disasters including earthquakes and typhoons, as well as famine and epidemics, which together inflicted immense suffering on the people and led to tremendous loss of life. Nichiren, determined to alleviate that anguish, repeatedly admonished those who held power within the military government, calling on them to rectify their ways of thinking and their approach to governance.

As a result of his staunch opposition to the authorities, Nichiren endured armed ambushes, was sentenced to death and banished twice. However, as evidenced in his words “not once have I thought of retreat,”[13] he remained unperturbed in the face of these persecutions and persevered in his efforts to ease the suffering of the people.

In Nichiren’s day, three prevalent currents of thought about human existence had gained acceptance among the many people whose lives were devastated and who were on the brink of despair following the calamities that ravaged the country. These currents of thought encouraged escapism, denial and passive submission to fate. Nichiren condemned such ways of thinking while extending his wholehearted encouragement to the suffering people, declaring: “It is like the case of a person who falls to the ground, but who then pushes himself up from the ground and rises to his feet again.”[14] He sought to awaken each person to the inherent power that could enable them to overcome even the direst of situations.

The first of these ways of thinking encouraged an escapist approach to reality, leading people to believe they could attain happiness in some distant realm detached from the harsh realities of their lives. Nichiren vigorously refuted this idea, emphasizing that the place where we confront reality and transform our lives is the place where we are right now. “There are not two lands, pure or impure in themselves. The difference lies solely in the good or evil of our minds.”[15]

The willingness to challenge hardships taps the power within human beings to transform even a place of tragedy into a stage for fulfilling one’s mission. Nichiren encouraged his followers to lead a life in which they squarely confront their troubles and, through their own example of doing so, restore hope to those facing similar distress.

The second way of thinking that Nichiren criticized was one that encouraged people to deny reality. This produced an attitude of disengagement, with people becoming closed within their private world and insulated from the grievous tragedies of the day.

It is true that in some Buddhist scriptures we can find teachings in which Shakyamuni (c. 560–480 BCE) expounded ways to distance oneself from the worldly attachments that give rise to suffering and delusion. However, these were employed as “expedient means” to temporarily mitigate the distress of those immersed in misery. In Nichiren’s view, they are provisional teachings that do not fully represent Shakyamuni’s intent. Therefore, when Nichiren lectured on the passage from the Bodhisattva Medicine King Chapter of the Lotus Sutra that reads, “It [the Lotus Sutra] can cause living beings to cast off all distress,”[16] he proposed that we interpret the words “cast off” as “perceive the true nature of.”[17]

To banish thoughts of present problems as if they do not exist only postpones the inevitable task of tackling them to some time in the future, allowing them to fester and grow worse. In contrast, Nichiren advocated a way of life in which people confront painful realities, identify root causes and seek means of resolution. He believed that through this process people can create a society that enjoys even greater peace and happiness than it did before tragedy struck.

The third way of thinking that Nichiren harshly critiqued was one that encouraged people to passively submit to reality, causing them to accept even an intolerable status quo as immutable. Condemning this approach, he maintained that human beings are capable of bringing forth inner strength in direct proportion to the depth of the confusion and predicament they face.

He explained this using the analogy of lotus flowers blooming in muddy water: just as lotus flowers rise unsoiled from the muddy water, human beings have the power to unleash their previously untapped potential even while mired in the struggles of everyday life. By engaging with a reality that is filled with troubles and confusion, wrestling with problems one by one, we can transform all these experiences into nourishment that strengthens and revitalizes our lives. Nichiren sought to inspire his followers to a way of life in which they strive to make their existence shine like a sun of hope and to effect meaningful change in society.

In our world today, there is a tendency for people to avert their eyes from pressing problems; this tendency becomes stronger the more serious the problems are. Even among those who are aware, for example, of the threat posed by nuclear weapons or the dangers of environmental destruction, people are apt to give up without trying, convinced that their efforts would not be meaningful.

More than anything, breaking the shackles of denial, powerlessness and apathy requires a deep sense of mission and commitment based on a personal vow. This idea was expressed by President Mandela throughout his life. In his autobiography, he voiced the heartfelt cry: “Men, I think, are not capable of doing nothing, of saying nothing, of not reacting to injustice, of not protesting against oppression, of not striving for the good society and the good life in the ways they see it.”[18] The same sentiment is evident in the words of the founder of the Green Belt Movement, Dr. Wangari Maathai, articulating the pledge that consistently guided her actions: “We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds.”[19]

The reference to lotus flowers in muddy water was originally used in the Lotus Sutra to describe the emergence of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. These are bodhisattvas who had vowed to Shakyamuni that, throughout their lives, they would work for the sake of people mired in despair and were willing to be born in times of confusion and social unrest in order to do so.

The Lotus Sutra and Bodhisattvas of the Earth

The Lotus Sutra is said to have been compiled between the first and second centuries. It contains the teachings of Shakyamuni, the historical founder of Buddhism, and was recorded in text form following his death. Like many Mahayana sutras, the Lotus Sutra spread through the “northern transmission” route, reaching China in the third century. A core theme of the sutra is the idea that all people equally possess Buddha nature.

The Bodhisattvas of the Earth are described as “an innumerable host of bodhisattvas who emerge from beneath the earth,” to whom Shakyamuni entrusts the propagation of the teachings of the Lotus Sutra following his death. They are depicted in the fifteenth chapter of the Lotus Sutra and represent those who embody the qualities of wisdom, courage and compassion and who strive without cease for the happiness of others.

To live one’s life committed to fulfilling a pledge or vow is fundamentally different from an attitude of passively waiting for others to take the initiative and plaintively hoping for change. Neither is it the kind of promise that is forsaken when conditions make it difficult to honor. It is, rather, proof that we are leading a meaningful existence, an undertaking that we carry out with our entire being, pursued in the face of every adversity or tribulation, no matter how long it takes to accomplish.

SGI members aspire to live our lives as Bodhisattvas of the Earth. This is a life dedicated to fulfilling one’s vow, something that Nichiren identified as an essential aspect of Buddhist practice. Striving to fulfill our personal vow enables us to realize our inner strength, creating positive value in even the most challenging circumstances. This way of living also means to stand by the side of those who are distressed, to seek to build happiness for both oneself and others, supporting and encouraging each other.

On a societal plane, as representatives of civil society, the SGI has consistently supported the United Nations and its various activities to address global issues of pressing concern. In December 1989, during a meeting with UN Under-Secretaries- General Rafiuddin Ahmed and Jan Mårtenson, I expressed the resolve that motivates our efforts to support the global organization as follows:

The Buddhist philosophy which teaches peace, equality and compassion is in keeping with the spirit of the UN. Therefore, to support the United Nations is for us inevitable. Otherwise, we would be betraying our mission as Buddhist practitioners.[20]

Truly sweeping visions and goals cannot necessarily be realized in one person’s lifetime. However, as the examples of President Mandela and Dr. Maathai attest, those who have lived with a sense of mission and vow at the core of their being can continue to inspire others even after their passing. Their lives shine as a model for all eternity for those who would follow in their footsteps. Based on the same principle, Nichiren exhorted his disciples to triumph over life’s adversities, stating: “Could there ever be a more wonderful story than your own, one that will be recounted by future generations?”[21]

The power of hope that is available to any person, under any circumstance, and which can inspire future generations—this is the foundation of the effort to create value. I believe that this will surely provide a platform on which we can unite our strengths to confront the serious threats and problems facing humanity. This in turn will become a bridge toward the creation of a society where all people can enjoy peace and harmonious coexistence.

Value creation of people working together to resolve issues

The second aspect of value creation I would like to consider is how it brings people together to resolve issues.

As research into the nature of resilience has advanced in recent years, the importance of a number of factors has come into clearer focus. Zolli and Healy, for example, describe their findings:

Resilient communities frequently relied … on informal networks, rooted in deep trust, to contend with and heal disruption. Efforts undertaken to impose resilience from above often fail, but when those same efforts are embedded authentically in the relationships that mediate people’s everyday lives, resilience can flourish.[22]

The difficulty, however, is the continuing erosion of social capital—the interwoven fabric of human relationships. For it is this fabric that provides a necessary site for the fostering of networks rooted in the deep trust that mediates people’s everyday lives. It fulfills a crucial buffering function, without which individuals are directly exposed to the impacts of various threats and challenges that confront society as a whole. Absent this social capital, people are forced to face these threats in isolation—whether with despairing withdrawal or steely determination to prioritize personal welfare.

The economic philosopher Serge Latouche has called for a more humane society (une société décente), one that will help restore the dignity of those who have been left behind in the midst of cutthroat economic competition. To this end, he stresses the importance of an ethics of conviviality, the simple taking of pleasure in each other’s company.[23]

The Buddhist teachings contain a phrase that resonates with this concept: “Joy means delight shared by oneself and others.”[24] The vision that we must place at the heart of contemporary society is one in which, through the sharing of joy, we create a world more noted for the warm light of dignity than the cold gleam of wealth, a world of empathy marked by the resolute refusal to abandon those who suffer most deeply.

Effecting this kind of fundamental change in society would be difficult under any circumstance, and it may seem virtually impossible in view of the increasingly attenuated bonds between people evident at all levels. To overcome this, I think we need to reaffirm our confidence in the true nature of human society. Perhaps no one expressed this more aptly than Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–68) as he struggled for the cause of human dignity:

We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. … We are made to live together.[25]

The Buddhist concept of “dependent origination” resonates with Dr. King’s call. However tenuous our connections may appear on the surface, this does not change the fact that the world is woven of the profound bonds and connections of one life to another. It is this that makes it at all times possible for us to take the kind of action that will generate ripples of positive impact across the full spectrum of our connections.

The writer Rebecca Solnit, who has traveled to disaster sites throughout the world, declares that “the constellations of solidarity, altruism, and improvisation are within most of us and reappear at these times. People know what to do in a disaster.”[26] The key question then becomes, how do we enable and encourage people to bring forth these capacities, which typically remain dormant except in times of crisis, from within the processes of normal daily life?

In April 2012, Ms. Solnit was interviewed by the Seikyo Shimbun, the newspaper of the Soka Gakkai in Japan. She cited the following conditions that make it more likely that people will engage in mutually supportive activities in the face of disaster: “You have to feel like part of a community, that you have a voice, agency, that you are able to participate.”[27]

These conditions are at the same time crucial to calling forth—both in times of crisis and its absence—the aspect of humanity that Dr. King described when he said that we are made to live together. And they are the conditions for creating an expanding solidarity of action toward the resolution of problems.

Here I am reminded of an exchange between the second Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dag Hammarskjöld (1905–61), and his longtime friend, the American novelist John Steinbeck (1902–68). When asked at a dinner what he could do to support him and the UN, Hammarskjöld told Steinbeck: “Sit on the ground and talk to people. That’s the most important thing.”[28]

To me, these words embody the spirit of this courageous man, who worked ceaselessly for the resolution of conflicts around the world, undeterred by difficulties, and who continues to be revered as the conscience of the United Nations. Further, they were spoken just weeks before Hammarskjöld set out to negotiate a truce in the Congo, a trip that would end in the plane crash that claimed his life.

These simple words convey his conviction that even in tackling the problems confronting the UN or humankind as a whole, the longest journey starts with a single step, which is to engage in frank conversation with the people in our immediate environment—the place where we have set down the anchor of our lives—and to take concerted action with them. This points to the invaluable role that dialogue plays in enabling each individual to feel that they are part of a community.

At the same time, there is no need for us to be rigid or to overburden the act of dialogue with expectations, with the idea for example that, once started, it cannot stop until a definite resolution has been reached. As the warm tenor of Hammarskjöld’s words suggests, the significance of dialogue lies in the process, in sharing thoughts and taking pleasure in each other’s company.

For my part, I consider the many exchanges I have shared with others—conversations through which we have come to know each other deeply—to be a source of unparalleled joy. For all of us, to expand the circle of dialogue within our community is to expand the space of comfort and security, the space where we know that we are accepted and have a place.

Further, dialogue has the power to help people reach across barriers, enabling them to come together around common concerns. The joy of discovering, through dialogue, that there are those who embrace the same aspiration naturally fosters solidarity toward the resolution of such issues. The truly limitless possibilities of each individual can only fully manifest themselves through our connectedness and our collaborative efforts. It is this solidarity, developed through dialogue, that makes possible the kind of open exchange by which we can find the means to break through the impasses we inevitably confront. In this way, we are empowered to celebrate each seemingly small victory as we continue to advance toward our goal.

With regard to the other condition Ms. Solnit mentions—the awareness that one has an active role to play in a community—nothing is more important than working with others to overcome shared suffering.

At present, I am engaged in a dialogue with the environmentalist Professor Dr. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, co-president of the Club of Rome. Among the topics we have examined is the idea of “self-motivated labor” (Eigenarbeit), which he defines as spontaneous actions taken for the sake of those in our immediate surroundings or for future generations. What is important about this concept is that it is not limited to exerting ourselves on behalf of others but includes the idea of forming and creating a better self, opening the possibility for a virtuous circle.

The Club of Rome

The Club of Rome was founded in 1968 by Aurelio Peccei, an Italian industrialist, and Alexander King, a Scottish scientist. It is an informal association of people from various fields sharing a common concern for the future of humanity and the planet who are interested in contributing in a systemic, interdisciplinary and holistic manner to bettering the world. It first rose to global prominence with the 1972 report, The Limits to Growth, which explored how exponential growth interacts with finite resources, and has continued to issue indepth reports over the subsequent years.

There can be up to 100 Full Members of the Club of Rome. Together, they currently represent over thirty countries in five continents.

Human dignity does not shine in isolation. It comes to full brilliance through our efforts to cast a bridge connecting the opposing banks of self and other. In the teachings of Buddhism we find these words: “If you light a lantern for another, it will also brighten your own way.”[29] Actions taken to illuminate the dignity of others inevitably generate the light that reveals our own highest aspects. However difficult our situation or profound our anguish, we always retain the capacity to light the flame of encouragement. This light dispels not only the darkness of others’ suffering, but also that which envelops our own heart. This is a core message of Buddhism.

I am confident that community activities, volunteer and NGO undertakings—as well as the simple act of people who are themselves suffering reaching out to others in need—can all generate an upward spiral of joy. Together with the kind of dialogue touched on above, these efforts can propel us toward the establishment of a society in which all people’s dignity is fully realized.

As Helen Clark, administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), has emphasized: “If all seven billion people in our world were working together to find solutions to our shared problems, what a difference that would make!”[30]

The foundation for making a truly meaningful difference in efforts to resolve the issues facing our communities and humankind as a whole is to be found in solidarity based on the sharing of joy with others. The challenge ahead of us is to find ways to create value based on that solidarity.

Value creation that calls forth the best in each of us

The final aspect of value creation I would like to explore is value creation that calls forth and awakens the best in each of us.

This year is the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, an event that, among other things, marked the start of a profound transformation in the nature of warfare. This took the form of increasingly indiscriminate targeting of civilian populations as the power of industrial production made it possible to conduct attacks over great distances, undeterred by geographic limitations. The distinction between the actual battle lines and the “home front” was blurred. Attacks against the civilian populace came in the form of the aerial bombardment of cities and unrestricted submarine warfare.

At the same time, ever more ruthless means were used to inflict harm on the enemy. With the enormous scale of the war and the overriding imperative to produce victory in individual battles as quickly and efficiently as possible, the belligerents began using poison gas and other particularly cruel and inhumane weapons.

These strategies were the inevitable outcome of the idea of total war, in which the entire weight of a country’s human and material resources is brought to bear in order to overwhelm the enemy. The result was that World War I saw numerous civilian deaths as well as the massive military casualties. This trend further accelerated in World War II, when there were an estimated 34 million civilian deaths compared to 17 million combatant fatalities.[31]

In the years since World War I, warfare has become increasingly indiscriminate. The ultimate manifestation of this is nuclear weapons, which embody the readiness to exterminate the entire enemy population. Also symbolic of these trends are unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones. This new class of weapon, the most highly evolved form of long-distance military attack, has become the focus of debate within the international community.

Drone attacks—remotely operated strikes to eliminate members of terror organizations, armed groups or those in some other way seen as a threat—are a form of execution conducted outside the scope of normal judicial procedure, one in which the accused is provided no opportunity to offer a legal defense. They are premised on the inevitability of collateral damage—an anodyne term for the deaths of innocent civilians who have the misfortune to find themselves in the target area. These aspects of drone attacks have attracted deepening concern, and last year a special inquiry into drone strikes was conducted at the request of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC).

Both nuclear weapons and drones share a disregard for the spirit of humanitarian norms and human rights. At the deepest level, they are rooted in an eliminationist attitude that considers it unacceptable to permit the continued existence of those who have been deemed enemy and will use any means and inflict any form of death or destruction to achieve that end.

What kind of impact does such a radical bifurcation of good and evil have on the human spirit? The ethicist Sissela Bok offers an analysis of an essay by the poet Stephen Spender (1909–95) about his experience in the Spanish Civil War. In this essay, Spender writes:

When I saw photographs of children, murdered by Fascists, I felt furious pity. When the supporters of Franco talked of Red atrocities, I merely felt indignant that people should tell such lies. … I gradually acquired a certain horror of the way in which my own mind worked. It was clear to me that unless I cared about every murdered child impartially, I did not really care about children being murdered at all.[32]

In other words, according to Bok:

His perception had been distorted by the intensity of his concern for the threatened lives of those on his own side of the conflict and by his horror and distrust of the fascists’ tactics. He had lost all concern for the children on the fascist side and had come to see any reference to their suffering as mere propaganda.[33]

The Spanish Civil War

The Spanish Civil War (1936–39) was a military revolt against the Republican government of Spain by a rebel faction, referred to as the Nationalists. They consisted primarily of landowners and businessmen and were supported by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. The Republicans, who were loyal to the established Spanish Republic, consisted predominantly of urban workers, agricultural laborers and the educated middle class and were backed by the Soviet Union and International Brigade, which attracted many idealistic young people from Europe and America. It was in many ways a proxy and prelude for the forces that would confront each other in World War II. The war was won by the Nationalists, and their leader, Francisco Franco (1892–1975), ruled Spain for the next thirty-six years.

The idea that one’s own side has a monopoly on good and that one’s opponents are the very embodiment of evil was at the heart of the ideological confrontation that divided the world throughout the Cold War. It continues to persist in various forms more than two decades after the end of that conflict. We see this, for example, in assertions that all those who practice a particular religion represent a danger in the form of the threat of terror, or in acquiescence with hate speech and hate crimes directed at a particular ethnicity or culture because of fears of social instability, or in willingness to restrict people’s freedom and prioritize surveillance over human rights in the name of national security.

Even if we acknowledge the legitimacy of concerns about terrorism, social instability or national security, so long as our efforts to respond are rooted in a worldview that classes people into fixed categories of good and evil, the inevitable outcome will be to further fan the flames of fear and mistrust, deepening divisions within society.

All too often, those who are convinced of their own goodness end up mirroring the very qualities—a disregard for humanity and human rights, for example—that they find so repugnant in those they have labeled evil.

Here again, we must learn from Nelson Mandela, from the words he declared to the world upon becoming president:

We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender, and other discrimination. Never, never, and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another.[34]

Efforts to deal with the threat of terrorism, the challenge of social instability and legitimate security concerns must remain rooted in the principle that any form of oppression directed at others is unacceptable. Only then will our attempts to repair the frayed fabric of society produce the results we seek.

The Buddhist teaching of “the mutual possession of the ten worlds” can provide a way of thinking that moves beyond the radical bifurcation of good and evil. It teaches that even those who are experiencing a positive life state (goodness) still bear within them the potential for evil intent and action; it admonishes us to be on guard against the influences that will sway us in this direction. At the same time, it teaches that even the most destructive state of life (evil) is not a fixed or immutable condition; all people at all times retain the capacity to manifest goodness through a fundamental change in their inner resolve.

In Buddhism, the parable of the eye-begging Brahman illustrates the former case. In a past life, when Shariputra, one of Shakyamuni’s ten major disciples, was engaged in bodhisattva practices that entailed selflessly serving the needs of others, he encountered a Brahman who asked for his eye. When Shariputra complied with this extreme request, the Brahman not only failed to thank him but threw the eye on the ground and stomped on it, claiming to be disgusted by its smell. Aghast, Shariputra decided that leading such people as this Brahman to salvation was beyond him; as a result he abandoned the practice he had pursued for so long.

The key message of this parable is not the great difficulty of offering another person one’s eye, but the fact that Shariputra was unable to endure the rejection of that offering. In the moment that he saw his eye being trampled into the earth, the center of gravity of Shariputra’s life reverted from an altruistic concern for others to an isolated pursuit of his own enlightenment. As a result, he sank into the painful darkness of egotism for an unimaginably long time.

Nichiren cites this story first to stress the vulnerability of all people to negative influences. Then, urging his disciples to make a “great vow,”[35] he emphasizes the necessity of continually renewing a pledge to work for the happiness of others as the means to counteract that vulnerability.

The inner transformation undergone by the ancient Indian ruler King Ashoka (304–232 BCE) illustrates the inverse proposition: that the potential for good exists even in the hearts of those engaged in evil acts.

As ruler of the Mauryan Empire, Ashoka waged war against the state of Kalinga, conquering it around 261 BCE. The war had left 100,000 people dead, with 150,000 taken captive. Lamentations of the survivors rose from the smoldering ruins of people’s homes, filling the air. Confronting this portrait of hellish suffering, Ashoka felt the torments of a biting regret. He repented his cruelty and vowed never to wage war again. Over the remaining decades of his reign, he dispatched peaceful emissaries to other countries, encouraged cultural exchanges and had stone pillars engraved with edicts—such as admonitions against the taking of life—erected throughout the land.

In a dialogue I conducted with the Indian scholar Dr. Neelakanta Radhakrishnan, renowned for his research into the life and ideas of Mahatma Gandhi, he stated:

Within himself, Ashoka changed from a feared tyrant to a pacific leader. Gandhi saw an Ashoka inside every human being, all of whom are therefore capable of the same reformation.[36]

It was this example from history, coupled with his own relentless confrontation with inner evil, that made it possible for Gandhi to declare his “undying faith in the responsiveness of human nature”[37] and to maintain his commitment to nonviolence (ahimsa). In consequence, he was able not only to march forward himself but to bring his opponents along with him.[38]

The teaching of the mutual possession of the ten worlds encourages us to refrain from labeling others as evil, condemning or rejecting them. It urges us instead to a way of life in which we strive together to counter those societal evils in which we are all to some degree complicit. To do this, it is vital that we never lose sight of our own potential for evil, as we strive to bring out the best from within our own and others’ lives.

Even if there are those within another group who are oriented toward violence and intolerance, matters are only made worse and the spiral of hatred accelerated when we view that entire group as our enemy. What we need to do is to unite across our differences to establish clear and universal opposition to all acts of intolerance or violence. The SGI’s efforts to build a culture of peace and a culture of human rights—goals promoted by the United Nations—arise from our conviction that they can contribute to fostering this kind of human society.

As one of the heirs to Gandhi’s thinking and a leader in the fight for civil rights in the United States, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. warned that the three greatest stumbling blocks to the attainment of freedom were not the direct attacks of bigots but people who are “more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice,” “the appalling silence of the good people” and “the ‘do-nothingism’ of the complacent.”[39]

The true significance of a culture of human rights is not exhausted in the act of warning against those attitudes that have the effect of promoting social evils. It resides in creating a society in which each of us is empowered to bring forth our inner goodness and to strive proactively to protect the rights of all. Together, we can work to promote and strengthen the enjoyment of human rights throughout society.

The Human Rights Council has determined that the focus of the third phase (2015–19) of the World Programme for Human Rights Education will be on media professionals and journalists. Its emphasis will be on education and training in equality and nondiscrimination, with a view to combating stereotypes and violence and fostering respect for diversity. The SGI has consistently supported the World Programme since its initiation in 2005; we will continue to support these efforts, working with relevant UN agencies and fellow NGOs. And we will continue to advance in the challenge of value creation that seeks to call forth the best from within each of us.

Education for global citizenship

Next, I would like to offer proposals focusing on three key areas critical to the effort to create a sustainable global society in which the dignity of each person shines.

The first relates to education, with a particular focus on young people. I discussed earlier the challenge of value creation by the people and for the people with reference to Dr. Arnold Toynbee’s vision for the future: “It is open to us, through our own efforts, to give history, in our own case, some new and unprecedented turn.” Education is the key source of empowerment that enables people to take up this challenge.

When I met with Nelson Mandela in Tokyo in October 1990, we focused on education and youth development as the most crucial themes for creating a new era. President Mandela, who had been released from prison in February of that year, believed that a new South Africa must be built upon a foundation of education. I expressed strong agreement, noting that education is an essential driver of national development whose positive impact extends centuries into the future. Through this exchange, I believe we both deepened our conviction that education is the source of light that enables people’s dignity to shine.

Education holds the key to the future not only of a nation but of all humanity. President Mandela was able to endure over twenty-seven years of imprisonment because he continued to educate himself, nurturing the great dream of healing conflict to create a society of peace and coexistence for all. He wrote these words from prison:

It is only my flesh and blood that are shut up behind these tight walls. Otherwise I remain cosmopolitan in my outlook; in my thoughts I am as free as a falcon. The anchor of all my dreams is the collective wisdom of mankind as a whole.[40]

He read classical Greek drama to find inspiration and the inner strength to persevere under adversity. By turning Robben Island into a “university,” he and his fellow prisoners strove ceaselessly to develop their capacity to transform their ideals into reality.

The world today needs the kind of education that can develop the capacity to create value, underpinned by indomitable hope and the spirit of learning from the collective wisdom of humankind. This is especially true for those who are suffering in the face of various threats, those who are committed to making the world a better place and members of the younger generation upon whom the future depends.

Last September, the UN General Assembly held a Special Event toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), laying out a schedule for the post-2015 development agenda. A process of intergovernmental negotiations will begin in September this year, and a summit slated to take place in September 2015 will adopt a new set of development goals, widely referred to as sustainable development goals (SDGs).

In recent proposals, I have suggested that targets related to the transition to a zero-waste society, disaster prevention and mitigation, human rights, human security and disarmament be incorporated in the SDGs. I would now urge that targets related to education also be included: specifically, to achieve universal access to primary and secondary education, to eliminate gender disparity at all levels and to promote education for global citizenship.

To set in motion efforts regarding the third of these targets, I would urge that a new program of education for global citizenship be launched in collaboration between the UN and civil society. This would serve as a follow-up to the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) which ends this year.

I have consistently stressed the importance of education for global citizenship in the dialogues I have conducted with leaders and experts from throughout the world, starting with my discussions with Dr. Toynbee more than four decades ago. Likewise, in my peace proposal for 1987, I called for efforts to promote education for global citizenship focused on universal values with emphasis on the four key areas of environment, development, peace and human rights. This proposal was based on the conviction that learning is indispensable in the search for solutions to global problems.

This long-cherished belief underlies such awareness-raising efforts undertaken by the SGI as the “Nuclear Arms: Threat to Our World” exhibition, first held at the UN Headquarters in 1982 and subsequently in cities around the world in support of the World Disarmament Campaign. As a civil society organization, the SGI has continued to engage in grassroots public education through such exhibitions as “War and Peace” (1989), “Toward a Century of Humanity: Human Rights in Today’s World” (1993) and “Building a Culture of Peace for the Children of the World” (2003). These have been shown around the world in support of the UN Decade for Human Rights Education (1995–2004) and the UN’s efforts to promote a culture of peace starting in 2000.

Working with other NGOs, the SGI was an early proponent of the DESD and has called for the continuation of an international framework for human rights education while working to promote the DESD and the World Programme for Human Rights Education since they were launched in 2005. Additionally, the SGI provided support to the drafting process of the Earth Charter, a document elucidating principles and values for a sustainable future, and for many years has worked to help instill its spirit in the hearts and minds of people throughout the world.

In June 2012, the SGI and NGOs with whom we have developed collaborative relations over the last three decades cosponsored the interdisciplinary roundtable “The Future We Create,” an official side event at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A follow-up roundtable is scheduled to be held next month in New York to discuss the theme of global citizenship and the future of the UN.

What became clear through the Rio roundtable is the importance of a process of education that does not end with a deepened understanding of problems, but that serves as a catalyst empowering individuals to realize their unlimited potential and exercise leadership for change. Building on past experience and achievements within the UN system, the next step must be to start exploring a new educational framework whose emphasis will expand from individual empowerment to a collective effort to create value.

I would like to suggest three key elements that could form the basis of an educational program for global citizenship. Such education should:

  • Deepen understanding of the challenges facing humankind, enable people to explore their causes and instill the shared hope and confidence that such problems, being of human origin, are amenable to human solutions;
  • Identify the early signs of impending global problems in local phenomena, develop sensitivity to such signs and empower people to take concerted action; and
  • Foster empathetic imagination and a keen awareness that actions that profit one’s own country might have a negative impact on or be perceived as a threat by other countries, elevating this to a shared pledge not to seek one’s happiness and prosperity at the expense of others.

This kind of comprehensive education for global citizenship should be integrated into secondary and tertiary curricula in each national setting. Also, civil society should take the initiative to promote it as an integral aspect of lifelong learning.

In 2012, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the Global Education First Initiative identifying the fostering of global citizenship as one of three priority areas. I am deeply encouraged by the UN’s engagement with this issue.

The contribution ESD can make to education for global citizenship will be among the central topics at the World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development scheduled to take place in Nagoya, Japan, in November, which will also discuss the future agenda in this endeavor. The achievements and the issues identified through these processes should be taken into consideration in the development of a new educational program for global citizenship.

Youth empowerment toward a sustainable future

Along with education, another area that I suggest should be a focus of the SDGs is the empowerment of youth.

Young people make up one-fourth of the world’s population.[41] They are the generation that will be most affected by the SDGs, and at the same time, the generation that will most powerfully shape the effort to achieve them. Steps to enable young people to engage in value-creating activities to build a better society should be integrated into the new goals.

Specifically, I suggest the following objectives be considered in establishing the SDGs:

  • For all states to strive to secure decent work for all;
  • For young people to be able to actively participate in solving the problems facing their societies; and
  • For the expansion of youth exchanges to foster friendship and solidarity transcending national borders.

According to some estimates, 202 million people are unemployed in our world today, while some 900 million remain below the US$2 a day poverty line.[42] The situation surrounding young people is particularly severe. They are often out of work for long periods of time; and even when employed, they are faced with low wages, poor working conditions, unstable contracts and gender disparities. If such conditions persist, they will severely wound the dignity of many young people, depriving them of hope for the future and eroding their will to live.

To tackle this situation, the International Labour Organization (ILO) is encouraging governments to promote steps to ensure decent work for all. Including this among the SDGs would solidify momentum in this direction.

Young people’s participation in the process of solving the problems facing the world is absolutely essential. That this recognition is shared by the world’s young people was affirmed in the declaration adopted at the Global Youth Summit held in Costa Rica last September.

The Global Youth Summit

The BYND 2015 Global Youth Summit, held in San José, Costa Rica, from September 9–11, 2013, and organized by the International Telecommunications Union of the UN, provided a platform for young people from around the world to consolidate recommendations to be fed into discussions on the UN’s post-2015 global development agenda. BYND stands for Broadband and Youth Networking Dialogues, but also for the word “beyond.”

In particular, the youth discussed how technology can drive socioeconomic development in order to help shape the sustainable development agenda in the post-2015 era. In addition to the 700 participants, over 3,000 young people around the world logged in to contribute their ideas over the Internet using a unique crowdsourcing platform and other social media channels.

Active engagement of young people in problem solving is something I called for in my proposal to the UN in 2006. I therefore welcome the UN’s Online Platform for Youth launched last August and further development of similar measures to reflect the voices of young people in countries around the world.

To date, youth exchange programs have mainly focused on students. The expansion of youth exchanges should be included in the SDGs as an expression of the consensus of international society to ensure the broader involvement of young people. The significance of youth exchanges goes beyond even the deepening of mutual understanding; friendship and ties nurtured through exchanges serve as a bulwark against attempts to incite the collective psychologies of hatred and prejudice.

Increasing the number of individuals, especially young people, who embrace an awareness of global citizenship and thus refuse to seek the happiness and prosperity of their own country at the expense of others will counteract dependence on military might and the politics of exclusion. These individuals can play an essential role in building a peaceful and humane society. Friendship cultivated by spending time together face-to-face is an unsurpassed treasure for humanity in the sense that it can kindle a vow against war in the hearts of the rising generation in each country, leading to collaborative efforts to solve global problems.

This year, the Soka Gakkai in Japan launched SOKA Global Action, a campaign to inspire young people’s shared action to address problems facing society. Working with other NGOs and civil society bodies, we are determined to create a broad movement that enables young people to take the lead in tackling the urgent issues confronting our world.

SOKA Global Action campaign

The SOKA Global Action campaign, an initiative begun by youth members of the Soka Gakkai in Japan, was launched in 2014. It consists of three action areas:

(1) Efforts to build a culture of peace and to work together with SGI youth around the world toward nuclear abolition, with a specific focus on the year 2015, which marks the seventieth anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

(2) Promotion of goodwill within Asia through grassroots cultural exchanges between Soka Gakkai youth and young people in South Korea and China.

(3) Assistance for reconstruction efforts in the aftermath of the March 2011 Tohoku Earthquake, with a focus on young people directing their energy into caring for the individuals who were affected by the disaster.

Regional cooperation for resilience

The second key area I would like to discuss relates to international cooperation to minimize the damage caused by extreme weather and other disasters.

According to a report of the World Meteorological Organization issued last July, more than 370,000 people died as a result of extreme weather and climate events during the first decade of the twenty-first century, including Hurricane Katrina, floods in Pakistan and drought in the Amazon Basin.[43] Extreme weather events have continued with unabated frequency into the current decade. In 2013 alone, Typhoon Haiyan caused severe damage in the Philippines and Vietnam, heavy rain brought flooding in central Europe and India, and much of the Northern Hemisphere experienced record high temperatures as a result of heat waves. In addition to the direct damage, climate change seriously impacts sectors vital to the livelihood of countless people around the world, including agriculture, fisheries and forestry. The worldwide financial impact of weather- related damage is estimated at US$200 billion a year.[44]

The Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has begun to address the loss and damage associated with climate change as a separate issue from the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The nineteenth session that took place in Warsaw, Poland, last November agreed upon the Warsaw International

Mechanism for Loss and Damage. Under this mechanism, developed countries will be asked to provide financial assistance to developing countries impacted by climate change. The mechanism lacks legally binding force, however, and the next opportunity for review will not be until 2016, so there are questions about its actual effectiveness.

Last November, the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security issued a report, warning: “Current levels of adaptation and mitigation efforts are insufficient to avoid negative impacts from climate stressors.”[45] Clearly, a new and more effective approach is an urgent priority.

Here, I would like to propose the establishment of regional cooperative mechanisms to reduce damage from extreme weather and disasters, strengthening resilience in regions such as Asia and Africa. These would function alongside global measures developed under the UNFCCC.

There are three aspects to the response to extreme weather events and other disasters: disaster preparedness, disaster relief and post-disaster recovery. It is not uncommon for relief assistance to be provided by other countries, but international cooperation in the other two areas still tends to be the exception. Even when there has been abundant emergency relief assistance in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, it remains extremely difficult for a country to recover post-disaster and strengthen preparedness relying only on its own resources. Establishing a mechanism for mutual assistance based on lessons learned from shared experiences is therefore an urgent priority.

At present, the UN engages in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and post-conflict peacebuilding and recovery as an integrated process under the auspices of the Peacebuilding Commission. In the same way, disaster preparedness, disaster relief and post-disaster recovery need to be treated as an integrated process. To this end, I would like to suggest that neighboring countries set up a system of cooperation for responding to extreme weather and other disasters. Such systems should be built on relations among neighboring countries because, unlike relief efforts immediately following a disaster, preparedness and recovery require sustained cooperation. Such cooperation is facilitated by geographic proximity, as is the sharing of lessons and knowledge on preparedness among countries exposed to similar threats.

This alone would be significant, but it could bring immeasurable value to an entire region once cooperation regarding extreme weather and disasters among neighboring countries begins to fully function—the possibility of transforming countries’ understanding of and approach to security.

A report released at the International Conference on Climate Security in the Asia-Pacific Region held in Seoul, Korea, in March 2013, found that at least 110 countries around the world consider the effects of climate change to represent a “serious national security issue.”[46] This constitutes an important change as, in the past, many governments viewed climate change as just another environmental issue and accorded it a low priority. This has changed in recent years, and more and more governments now see the need to treat it as a threat to national security.

Noteworthy here is the fact that measures to enhance security in line with this new perception will not lead to what has been called the “security dilemma,” a vicious cycle in which the steps a state takes to heighten security are perceived by other states as an increased threat, causing them to respond with similar measures, only leading to further mistrust and tension.

Above all, the unpredictable nature of extreme weather and natural disasters and the sense of vulnerability they provoke open the door to empathy and solidarity across national borders. Numerous countries have demonstrated this in their willingness to help those in need, rushing relief teams and offering assistance to the affected country in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.

This is a point I discussed in the dialogue I am conducting with the renowned peace scholar Professor Kevin P. Clements. Both our countries were hit by earthquakes around the same time in 2011—New Zealand by the Christchurch Earthquake and Japan by the Tohoku Earthquake. Professor Clements described the wide-scale international cooperation he witnessed on that occasion, and noted:

It underlines the ways in which we all know in our heart of hearts that there is a common humanity that unites all of us irrespective of our cultural, linguistic, or national differences. It’s a pity that this common humanity is often only realized in times of crisis. It is important, therefore, that we maintain this “disaster spirit” in normal times as well.[47]

Indeed, as neighboring countries make sustained efforts to cooperate in strengthening resilience and recovery assistance, the spirit of mutual help and support can become the shared culture of the region.

The knowledge, technology and know-how that facilitates cooperation in these areas is such that its value to all parties is enhanced through sharing. This is in contrast to the secrecy that typically surrounds military-based technologies and information. The more that countries share information and technology in resilience-related fields, the greater the opportunity to minimize damage, which in turn reduces disaster risk and enhances security throughout the region.

This is in line with the concept of “knowledge as a global public good,”[48] described by the economist Joseph E. Stiglitz employing the following words of Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), the third president of the United States: “He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.”[49]

Disaster resilience consists of four elements: robustness (the strength of systems to withstand stress without loss of function); redundancy (systems that allow for substitution); resourcefulness (the capacity to mobilize society’s physical and intellectual resources); and rapidity (the capacity to identify priorities to prevent further disruption and speed up the process of recovery). We can receive ideas about these elements from others without in any way lessening their capacity, as Jefferson’s analogy makes clear.

I urge that the pioneering initiative for such regional cooperation be taken in Asia, a region that has been severely impacted by disasters. A successful model here will inspire collaborative work to strengthen resilience and recovery assistance in other regions.

A foundation for this already exists: the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), whose members include the ASEAN countries as well as China, Japan, North Korea and South Korea. Making disaster relief one of its security priorities, ARF has in place a framework for regularly discussing better ways of cooperation. ARF has conducted three disaster relief exercises to date, consisting of civil-military coordinated drills involving medical, sanitation and water supply teams from various countries.

The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)

The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) was established as a result of agreements reached at the Twenty-Sixth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting and Post Ministerial Conference, held in Singapore from July 23–25, 1993. The inaugural meeting of the ARF was held in Bangkok on July 25, 1994. The objectives of the forum are to foster constructive dialogue and consultation on political and security issues of common interest and concern, and to make significant contributions to efforts toward confidence-building and preventive diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific region.

The current participants in the ARF are: Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, North Korea, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, the United States and Vietnam.

In his 1903 book Jinsei chirigaku (The Geography of Human Life), Tsunesaburo Makiguchi called for a transformation from zero-sum military competition to “humanitarian competition.” The exercises conducted by ARF may foreshadow this kind of transition.

In an era dominated by imperialism and colonialism, Makiguchi observed a transition in the arenas of competition among states from the military to the political to the economic. He called for a departure from these modes of competition, which seek to secure one’s own prosperity at the expense of others, advocating instead that states direct their efforts to achieving the objectives of humanitarian competition.

Makiguchi explored the possibility of a qualitative transformation of military, political and economic competition, a shift to “engaging consciously in collective life” by choosing to “do things for the sake of others, because by benefiting others, we benefit ourselves.” Makiguchi described his humanitarian perspective as follows: “What is important is to set aside egotistical motives, striving to protect and improve not only one’s own life, but also the lives of others.”[50]

More than a century after he made this call, ARF’s disaster relief exercises can be seen as an opportunity for states to pursue a qualitative transformation in the nature of military competition.

As countries continue to work together to strengthen cooperation for disaster relief, resolving mistrust and ill feelings toward one another in the process, they can develop collaborative relationships robust enough to be extended to post-disaster recovery operations. As a means to promote this, I would like to propose an Asia recovery resilience agreement, as a framework drawing on the experience of the ARF.

One important avenue for promoting disaster preparedness, an integral aspect of resilience, is face-to-face exchanges and cooperation among local government bodies in various countries through sister-city agreements. I urge that Japan, China and South Korea take the initiative in mutually strengthening resilience through such sister-city relationships.

Currently, there are 354 sister-city agreements between Japan and China, 151 between Japan and South Korea and 149 between China and South Korea. Further, the Japan-China-South Korea Trilateral Local Government Conference has taken place annually since 1999 to further promote this kind of interaction.

Building upon this foundation, ties of friendship and trust could be made even stronger through collaborative efforts to strengthen resilience, including disaster prevention and mitigation. Members of the younger generation should take the lead in this. Sister-city exchanges and cooperation would then evolve into collective action connecting cities across national borders, eventually creating spaces of peaceful coexistence throughout the region.

If we are incapable of making sincere efforts to cultivate friendly relations with our neighbors, how can we presume to speak of contributing to global peace? The spirit of mutual aid demonstrated in times of disaster should be the basis of day-to-day relations among neighboring countries.

I strongly urge that a Japan-China-South Korea summit be held at the earliest opportunity to initiate dialogue toward this kind of cooperation. Ideally, this should include cooperation on environmental problems along the lines I proposed last year. The 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction to be held in Sendai, Japan, in March 2015, should serve as an impetus for further talks to explore the modalities of concretizing such cooperation.

By taking up this challenge, we have the opportunity to generate new waves of value creation—not only in Asia, but throughout the world.

For a world free of nuclear weapons

The third area I would like to explore regards proposals for the prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons.

Natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunami are characterized by the fact that, while it may be possible to lessen their impact, it is impossible to prevent their occurrence. This is in sharp contrast to the threat posed by nuclear weapons, whose use would wreak devastation on an even greater scale than that of natural disasters but which can be prevented and even eliminated through the clear exercise of political will by the world’s governments.

In August last year, chemical weapons were used in Syria, resulting in the deaths of many civilians. This act was met with strong condemnation from the international community, with the UN Security Council adopting a resolution underscoring that “no party in Syria should use, develop, produce, acquire, stockpile, retain, or transfer chemical weapons”[51] and mandating the prompt destruction of any such weapons in Syria.

This use of chemical weapons renewed people’s awareness of the inhumane nature of weapons of mass destruction, and the Security Council sternly affirmed the principle that no one is permitted to possess or use chemical weapons.

It is incomprehensible that this same principle has yet to be applied to nuclear weapons.

In its 1996 Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, the International Court of Justice warned:

The destructive power of nuclear weapons cannot be contained in either space or time. They have the potential to destroy all civilization and the entire ecosystem of the planet.[52]

As this suggests, the humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons would be incomparably more catastrophic than even those of chemical weapons.

For many years, the predominant logic of national security in international politics blunted the political will to confront and debate the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. The Final Document of the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, which expressed “deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons,”[53] sparked a change in the terms of the debate.

In March last year, the Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons was held in Oslo, Norway, representing the first time in the almost seven decades since the start of the nuclear era that the international community has sought to reassess these weapons from a humanitarian perspective. A key objective of the conference was to make a scientific assessment of the impact. Among the key findings was a reaffirmation that “It is unlikely that any state or international body could address the immediate humanitarian emergency caused by a nuclear weapon detonation in an adequate manner and provide sufficient assistance to those affected.”[54]

These findings have helped put the wind at the back of efforts by a growing number of governments urging that the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons be given a central place in all discussions of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation. Since May 2012, these governments have repeatedly issued Joint Statements on this topic, and the fourth such statement, issued in October last year, was signed by the governments of 125 states, including Japan and several others under the nuclear umbrella of nuclear armed allies.

This movement focusing on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapon use emerged against the backdrop of widespread grassroots efforts by the world’s people, including the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki who have long raised their voices in the cry that no one must ever again experience the horror of nuclear war. It is a development of profound significance that two- thirds of the member states of the United Nations have confirmed that:

It is in the interest of the very survival of humanity that nuclear weapons are never used again, under any circumstances. The catastrophic effects of a nuclear weapon detonation, whether by accident, miscalculation or design, cannot be adequately addressed.[55]

Similarly, at the 1986 Reykjavík Summit, Soviet General-Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev and US President Ronald Reagan (1911–2004) held frank discussions in pursuit of an agreement on the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, something made possible by a shared concern about the catastrophic consequences of their use. Reflecting on this, Gorbachev later recalled:

Without Chernobyl, Reykjavík would not have happened. Without Reykjavík, nuclear disarmament efforts would not have moved forward. … If we were unable to deal with the radiation released from a single nuclear reactor, how would it be possible to deal with the radioactive contamination unleashed by nuclear detonations throughout the Soviet Union, the United States and Japan? It would have been the end.[56]

Although in the end it proved impossible to bridge differences regarding the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) and talks broke down just short of an agreement on the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, Reagan had from before this meeting embraced a vision of a nuclear-free world, stating:

I have a dream of a world without nuclear weapons. I want our children and grandchildren particularly to be free of these weapons.[57]

The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI)

In 1983, US President Ronald Reagan initiated the development of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), also known as Star Wars, as a means of countering the Soviet nuclear threat. The idea behind SDI was to create a defense technology that could shield the US against incoming ballistic missiles by destroying them in flight before they reached their targets. Although SDI was never deployed, it put economic pressure on the Soviet Union to develop countermeasures.

While Reagan considered SDI to be essentially defensive in nature and even offered to share the technology, GeneralSecretary Mikhail Gorbachev and the Soviet Union saw it as destabilizing the deterrent balance and therefore threatening. Failure to agree on the nature of SDI testing that would be allowed under a new agreement contributed to the breakdown of talks on an agreement for the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

The following year, 1987, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), the first bilateral agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union eliminating an entire class of nuclear weapons, was signed.

In his June 2013 speech in Berlin, US President Barack Obama offered this apt summation of current conditions: “We may no longer live in fear of global annihilation, but so long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not truly safe.”[58]

The possibility of an accident involving nuclear weapons, an attack launched on the basis of misinformation, or even nuclear terrorism is a constant concern as it would produce catastrophic humanitarian consequences. These dangers are compounded by the increasing number of countries possessing nuclear weapons.

A careful examination of both the differences and the commonalities between the present situation and the Cold War can generate new insights into the path to a world free of nuclear weapons.

Perhaps the most striking difference is that it has become increasingly difficult to imagine the kind of full-scale nuclear exchange that was feared during the Cold War era. At the same time, there is a growing awareness of the reduced military utility of nuclear weapons in responding to contemporary threats such as terrorism.

In other words, we have moved from an era in which the danger arose from the existence of conflict to one that is made dangerous by the continued existence of nuclear weapons. The intense confrontation of the Cold War provoked a sense of crisis, giving rise to a stance of mutual deterrence in which the two sides threatened each other with nuclear arsenals of unimaginable destructive capability. In contrast, today it is the continued existence of nuclear weapons in itself that gives rise to insecurity, pushing new states to acquire nuclear weapons while leaving existing nuclear-weapon states convinced of the impossibility of relinquishing these arms.

The global economic crisis that began six years ago has eroded the fiscal standing of virtually every national government, and yet the global cost of maintaining these increasingly inutile weapons is an astonishing US$100 billion per annum.[59] More and more people are coming to see nuclear weapons as a burden weighing down national finances rather than an asset that enhances national prestige. In light of all these factors, the motivation of the nuclear-weapon states to take proactive steps to reduce the threat posed by the continued existence of these weapons should increase.

In terms of commonalities or continuities between the Cold War era and the present, there is the singular fact that, in the sixty- eight years since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, no leader of any country has ordered a nuclear strike.

In this regard, it is useful to remember the following words of US President Harry S. Truman (1884–1972), spoken in 1948, some three years after he made the decision to use nuclear weapons against those two Japanese cities:

You have got to understand that this isn’t a military weapon. … It is used to wipe out women and children and unarmed people, and not for military uses. We have got to treat this differently from rifles and cannon and ordinary things like that.[60]

In making this statement, Truman was urging restraint and acknowledging America’s special responsibility as a nuclear-armed nation. The following year, the Soviet Union conducted its first successful nuclear test explosion. Since then, the world has lived under the shadow of the doctrine of nuclear deterrence. The experience of being in possession of the “nuclear button” that would launch a devastating strike has in gradual and imperceptible measures impressed on several generations of leaders the reality that nuclear weapons are not like other armaments, that they are not military weapons. This in turn has served as an effective restraint against their use.

Last year, an open-ended working group to develop proposals to take forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations for the achievement and maintenance of a world without nuclear weapons was established on the basis of an earlier UN General Assembly resolution. At a meeting held in June, the Austrian government, which played a leading role in securing passage of the resolution, submitted a working paper that posed the following question:

All States are united in the universal objective to achieve and maintain a world free of nuclear weapons. However, there are different perceptions as to the path that would most effectively lead to achieving the irreversible elimination of nuclear weapons. How can this perception gap be bridged?[61]

In my view there is a simple sentiment that can bridge differences between, on the one hand, the signatories of the Joint Statements on the humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons and, on the other hand, the leaders who, like President Truman before them, still feel compelled to rely on nuclear weapons to realize national security objectives even while sensing that they are fundamentally different from other weapons. And that simple sentiment is the desire never to witness or experience the catastrophic humanitarian effects of nuclear weapons.

In September 1957, as the nuclear arms race was accelerating, my mentor, Josei Toda, issued a declaration calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons, denouncing them as an impermissible threat to the right of the world’s people to live. Leading up to that statement, on January 1 of the same year, he declared: “I wish to see the word ‘misery’ no longer used to describe the world, any country, any individual.”[62]

It may be that there are a number of political leaders for whom the phrase “under any circumstances”—as it appears in the Joint Statement—provokes concerns about restrictions on military options needed to achieve national security goals. For them, perhaps rephrasing this to clarify that the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons should not be visited “on any human being”—refocusing on individual victims—will reduce the urge to establish exceptions that could justify the use of nuclear weapons.

Nuclear weapons, whose core function is to wipe out unarmed populations, exist on the far side of a line which must not be crossed. As Toda’s vehement denunciation made clear, it is impermissible to inflict such catastrophic humanitarian consequences on any human being. I believe this recognition holds the key to transcending the very idea that nuclear weapons can somehow be used to realize national security objectives.

To date, I have repeatedly called for a nuclear abolition summit to be held in Hiroshima and Nagasaki next year, the seventieth anniversary of the atomic bombings of those cities. Such a meeting would be a gathering of the world’s people, transcending questions of nationality or political status, where a shared pledge is made to take steps that will lead to a world without nuclear weapons.

Specifically, I would hope that representatives of the countries that signed the Joint Statement, of global civil society and, above all, youthful citizens from throughout the world including the nuclear-weapon states will gather in a world youth summit for nuclear abolition to adopt a declaration affirming their commitment to bringing the era of nuclear weapons to an end. The greatest significance of such a summit and declaration would lie in the spur they provide to future action.

A nuclear weapons non-use agreement

Concurrent with this, I would like to make two concrete proposals.

The first is for a nuclear weapons non-use agreement. This would be a natural outcome of placing the catastrophic humanitarian effects of nuclear weapons use at the center of the deliberations of the 2015 NPT Review Conference, and it would be a means of advancing the implementation of Article VI of the NPT under which the nuclear-weapon states have committed to pursuing nuclear disarmament in good faith.

Since the 1995 decision to indefinitely extend the NPT, the need for a legally binding instrument providing negative security assurances (guarantees against nuclear attack) to the non-nuclear-weapon states has been stressed. A nuclear weapons non- use agreement, in which the nuclear-weapon states pledge, as an obligation rooted in the core spirit of the NPT, not to use nuclear weapons against states parties to the treaty, would be a means of responding to this need. Such an agreement would have the effect of greatly reducing the instability produced by the existence of nuclear weapons in different regions. It would also be a significant step toward reducing the role of nuclear weapons in national security arrangements.

The Final Document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, after listing a series of measures that should be taken by the nuclear-weapon states, calls on them to report on their progress to the 2014 Preparatory Committee meeting, and notes that the 2015 NPT Review Conference will “take stock and consider the next steps for the full implementation of Article VI.”[63] Among other measures, the document calls on the nuclear-weapon states to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in security arrangements. An agreement on the non-use of nuclear weapons that includes the five permanent members of the UN Security Council would represent a substantive move in that direction.

The 2016 G8 Summit is scheduled to be held in Japan. An expanded summit dedicated to realizing a world without nuclear weapons could be held in conjunction with this and would provide an opportune venue for making a public pledge to early signing of such an agreement.

At the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit held two years ago, the leaders of the participating states expressed the shared view that “The circumstances in which any use of nuclear weapons might have to be contemplated are extremely remote.”[64] As this shows, the perceived utility of nuclear weapons continues to decrease.

Now is the time for the nuclear-weapon states to muster the political will to fulfill their obligations under the NPT regime and to give it form as a non-use agreement.

In the late 1960s, UK Secretary of State for Defence Denis Healey offered this analysis of the nature of extended nuclear deterrence during the Cold War: It required only 5 percent credibility of American retaliation to deter a Soviet nuclear attack, whereas 95 percent credibility was needed to reassure the European states.[65] As this would suggest, the policies of the countries that have relied on the nuclear umbrella of their allies have been one major factor sustaining the current excessive level of nuclear armament.

The establishment of a non-use agreement would bring an enhanced sense of physical and psychological security to such states, opening the way to security arrangements that are not dependent on nuclear weapons. This would in turn create the necessary conditions for a reduced role for nuclear weapons. Regions such as Northeast Asia and the Middle East, which are not currently covered by nuclear-weapon-free zones, could take advantage of a non-use agreement to declare themselves “nuclear weapon non-use zones,” as a preliminary step to becoming nuclear-weapon-free.

Even as it remains under the nuclear umbrella of the United States, Japan recently signed the Joint Statement on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons. It is my strong hope that Japan will rediscover its original motivation as a country that has suffered the tragedy of atomic attack and will join with other countries in taking the lead toward the establishment of such a non-use agreement and ultimately of non-use zones.

Strategies for nuclear prohibition

My second specific proposal is to utilize the process that is developing around the Joint Statements on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons to broadly enlist international public opinion and catalyze negotiations for the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons. Needless to say, this should be parallel with and complementary to efforts carried out within the NPT framework.

In my proposal two years ago, I explored the possibility of a two-stage approach to nuclear weapons prohibition and abolition. This could take the form of a treaty expressing the commitment, made in light of the humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons, to the future relinquishment of reliance on these weapons as a means of achieving security, coupled with separate protocols with strict conditions for entry into force defining concrete prohibition and verification regimes. Such an approach, I argued, would mean that even if the entry into force of the separate protocols took time, the treaty would express the clear will of the international community that nuclear weapons have no place in our world. Such a declaration would, in my view, open the way to finally ending the era of nuclear weapons.

In this context, I would like to suggest that the formula adopted in the case of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which will only enter into force when a series of stringent conditions have all been met, be considered as a possible model for the protocols of a nuclear prohibition treaty. This would be meaningful because the purpose of such a treaty is not to sanction or punish the use of nuclear weapons, but to establish and universalize the norm for their prohibition.

In addition to the 125 countries that signed the Joint Statement, I believe there are a number of governments that share this concern but, for various security-related reasons, find it difficult to accept a prohibition on use. For such countries, the inclusion within the treaty’s basic structure of institutional assurances such as I have been discussing could serve to ease these concerns, lowering the threshold for more countries to sign and ratify a nuclear prohibition treaty.

Regardless of the specifics of the approach used, it is important to remember that even a non-use agreement is only a beachhead toward our ultimate goal—the prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons. That goal will only be realized through accelerated efforts propelled by the united voices of global civil society.

In that regard, the period from this February, when the Second Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons will be held in Mexico, through the seventieth anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 2015, will be critical. During this crucial time, the SGI will continue working with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and other like-minded groups to bring together and amplify the voices of the world’s citizens—of youth in particular—calling for a world free of nuclear weapons.

In April of last year, the youth members of the SGI conducted a public opinion survey of young people in nine countries regarding nuclear weapons and their humanitarian consequences. The results, which were forwarded to Cornel Feruta, chair of the NPT Review Conference Preparatory Committee, found that 90 percent of respondents considered nuclear weapons inhumane and some 80 percent supported a treaty outlawing them.[66]

The work of building a world without nuclear weapons signifies more than just the elimination of these horrific weapons. Rather, it is a process by which the people themselves, through their own efforts, take on the challenge of realizing a new era of peace and creative coexistence. This is the necessary precondition for a sustainable global society, a world in which all people—above all, the members of future generations—can live in the full enjoyment of their inherent dignity as human beings.

If we think of this as the work of value creation through the unified efforts of the inhabitants of the twenty-first century, it becomes clear that the key role must be played by the world’s youth. When the young people who will bear the hopes and burdens of the coming era unite in the determination that humanity and nuclear weapons cannot coexist, and that the horrors of nuclear weapons must never be visited upon anyone again, there is no obstacle that cannot be overcome.

The members of the SGI are determined to continue striving to eliminate nuclear weapons and other causes of misery on Earth, and to further our efforts for value creation, working together with the world’s youth and all those who are committed to a hopeful vision of the future.


  1. Associated Press, “Toll of Syria’s devastation.” ↩︎
  2. NDRRMC, “NDRRMC Update,” 1. ↩︎
  3. Zolli and Healy, Resilience,19–20. ↩︎
  4. Toynbee, Civilization on Trial, 45. ↩︎
  5. UN Department of Public Information, “Malala, at Youth Takeover Event.” ↩︎
  6. See Frankl, Kuno suru ningen,137. ↩︎
  7. See Frankl, On the Theory and Therapy of Mental Disorders, 10. ↩︎
  8. See Makiguchi, Makiguchi Tsunesaburo zenshu, 5:373. ↩︎
  9. Mandela, Conversations with Myself, 177. ↩︎
  10. Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, 431. ↩︎
  11. Ibid.,539–40. ↩︎
  12. Nichiren, The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, 1:579. ↩︎
  13. Ibid., 2:465. ↩︎
  14. Ibid., 1:1108. ↩︎
  15. Ibid., 1:4. ↩︎
  16. Watson, trans., The Lotus Sutra, 328. ↩︎
  17. (trans. from) Nichiren, Nichiren Daishonin gosho zenshu, 773. ↩︎
  18. Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, 288. ↩︎
  19. Maathai, “Nobel Lecture.” ↩︎
  20. (trans. from) Seikyo Shimbun, “Kokuren o jiku ni tairitsu kara taiwa e,” 1. ↩︎
  21. (trans. from) Nichiren, Nichiren Daishonin gosho zenshu, 1086. ↩︎
  22. Zolli and Healy, Resilience, 20. ↩︎
  23. See Latouche, Pour sortir de la societe de consommation, 74–76. ↩︎
  24. (trans. from) Nichiren, Nichiren Daishonin gosho zenshu, 761. ↩︎
  25. King, The Trumpet of Conscience, 69. ↩︎
  26. Solnit, A Paradise Built in Hell, 10. ↩︎
  27. (trans. from) Solnit, “Saigai to bunmei,” 7. ↩︎
  28. Qtd. in Lind and Thelin, The Adventure of Peace, 99. ↩︎
  29. (trans. from) Nichiren, Nichiren Daishonin gosho zenshu, 1598. ↩︎
  30. Clark, “Volunteering Changes Our World for the Better.” ↩︎
  31. Cf. Wright, A Study of War, 1541–43. ↩︎
  32. Spender, The God That Failed, 253–54. ↩︎
  33. Bok, A Strategy for Peace, 9. ↩︎
  34. Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, 541. ↩︎
  35. Nichiren, The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, 1:1003. ↩︎
  36. (trans. from) Ikeda and Radhakrishnan, Jindo no seiki e, 184. ↩︎
  37. Gandhi, The Collected Works, 76:312. ↩︎
  38. See Gandhi, From Yeravda Mandir, 6. ↩︎
  39. King, Why We Can’t Wait, 73–75. ↩︎
  40. Mandela, Conversations with Myself, 182. ↩︎
  41. UNFPA, “Additional Investments in Youth Needed as World Population Tops 7 Billion.” ↩︎
  42. ILO, “Growth and Employment, Key to the Post-2015 Development Agenda.” ↩︎
  43. WMO, “2001–2010, A Decade of Climate Extremes.” ↩︎
  44. IPCC, Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation, 269. ↩︎
  45. UNU, “Loss and Damage from Climate Change Already Happening: UNU Report.” ↩︎
  46. Holland and Vagg, “The Global Security Defense Index on Climate Change,” 1. ↩︎
  47. Ikeda and Clements, personal correspondence. ↩︎
  48. Stiglitz, “Knowledge as a Global Public Good,” 308. ↩︎
  49. Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, 6:180. ↩︎
  50. (trans. from) Makiguchi, Makiguchi Tsunesaburo zenshu, 2:399. ↩︎
  51. UN Security Council, “Resolution 2118 (2013),” 2. ↩︎
  52. ICJ, Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, 243. ↩︎
  53. UN General Assembly, “2010 Review Conference,” 19. ↩︎
  54. Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Conference: Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons.” ↩︎
  55. UN General Assembly, “Joint Statement on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons,” 2. ↩︎
  56. (trans. from) Yoshida, Kaku no Amerika, 145. ↩︎
  57. Qtd. in Leffler, For the Soul of Mankind, 388. ↩︎
  58. Obama, “Remarks.” ↩︎
  59. Jaura, “Challenges Remain But Good News for Nuclear Disarmament.” ↩︎
  60. Qtd. in Lilienthal, The Journals of David E. Lilienthal, 2:391. ↩︎
  61. UN General Assembly, “An Exploration of Some Contributions,” 1. ↩︎
  62. (trans. from) Toda, Toda Josei zenshu, 3:290. ↩︎
  63. UN General Assembly, “2010 Review Conference,” 21. ↩︎
  64. NATO, “Deterrence and Defence Posture Review.” ↩︎
  65. See Healey, The Time of My Life, 243. ↩︎
  66. SGI, “Survey.” ↩︎

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