On September 8, 1957, Soka Gakkai Second President Josei Toda made his historic Declaration Calling for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons on September 8, 1957, at a meeting of 50,000 members of the Soka Gakkai's youth division at Mitsuzawa Stadium, Yokohama. Toda stated his clear vision of the diabolical nature of nuclear arms and condemned the presence of nuclear weapons which he declared pose the greatest threat to each person’s right to life and humanity’s right to existence.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), at the start of 2018 nine states—the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea)—possessed approximately 14,935 nuclear weapons. SIPRI also pointed to the fact that while the number of nuclear weapons in the world decreased from the previous year, the nuclear weapon systems are continuing to be modernized in nuclear weapons states. The nuclear states are still unmotivated about the idea of diminishing the role of nuclear weapons and are relying heavily on nuclear deterrence.
We know that, through technical failures, miscalculation and misapprehension, nuclear deterrence has verged on failure many times since 1945. We have avoided nuclear disaster more through luck than design, and our luck cannot be expected to hold indefinitely. It is necessary to bring about a fundamental shift of perception on nuclear weapons among people in the nuclear-weapon states and nuclear-dependent states in order to break the spell of nuclear deterrence, which is not something that protects us but that destroys us all. Such a shift could be made possible through strenuous efforts to raise public awareness, which is a part of the goal of peace and disarmament education in formal and nonformal settings.
The adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) marks the new beginning of the end of nuclear weapons. Universalizing the TPNW which emphasizes that the complete elimination of nuclear weapons is “the only way to guarantee that nuclear weapons are never used again under any circumstances” is the biggest challenge in front of us. The treaty resonates deeply with Toda’s declaration in the sense that they both point to the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons and call for their total elimination.
This summer the Soka Gakkai conducted various grassroots activities promoting the TPNW. These activities included the Youth Summit for the Renunciation of War in Nagasaki and the holding of the exhibition Everything You Treasure—For a World Free From Nuclear Weapons in Shizuoka, as well as film screenings of documentaries introducing testimonials of hibakusha in various parts of Japan.
This month, the Soka Gakkai will be holding various events commemorating the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons (September 26) including the holding of the exhibition Everything You Treasure—For a World Free From Nuclear Weapons in Shibuya, Tokyo, as well as a public symposium on gender and nuclear weapons abolition. To bring an end to the nuclear age, we will continue to conduct activities to deeply instill in every nation the awareness that nuclear weapons are an absolute evil and that their use is unacceptable for any reason. As an international partner of ICAN, we will continue to strengthen efforts to bring together the voices of citizens calling for a world free from nuclear weapons and to encourage grassroots action toward entry into force of the TPNW at the earliest possible time.