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Buddhist Leader Calls for Regional Cooperation in Response to Natural Disasters, Youth Summit on Nuclear Weapons Abolition

TOKYO, Jan. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- In his annual peace proposal, "Value Creation for Global Change: Building Resilient and Sustainable Societies," released on January 26, Daisaku Ikeda, president of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) Buddhist association, calls for increased regional cooperation in response to extreme weather events and natural disasters. He also proposes a comprehensive program of global citizenship education and the holding of a youth summit on nuclear abolition in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 2015.

Ikeda stresses the need to increase resilience so that societies and individuals are better equipped to withstand natural and climate change-related disasters. He proposes a focus on creating positive value and strengthening human solidarity as means of helping communities better withstand sudden shocks and dislocations.

He proposes viewing disaster preparedness, disaster relief and post-disaster recovery as integrated processes. Further, he stresses that strengthening regional cooperation to address disasters can both enhance mutual understanding and redefine regional and national security from the present "zero-sum" approach. As a start, he suggests building on the existing ASEAN Regional Forum, consisting of the ASEAN nations plus Japan, China, South Korea and other countries, developing an Asia Recovery Resilience Agreement, expanding sister city agreements and holding a summit among Japan, China and South Korea toward cooperation on disaster response and environmental issues.

Ikeda stresses the need to include education in the proposed international framework of goals to follow the Millennium Development Goals beyond 2015. He suggests a focus on education for global citizenship withthree broad aims: deepening understanding of the challenges facing humanity, exploring their causes and instilling confidence that they can be solved; monitoring signs of global phenomena at the local level and empowering people to respond to them; and fostering a spirit of coexistence with neighboring countries.

He urges focused action to rid the world of nuclear weapons and applauds the Joint Statement on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons submitted to the UN General Assembly First Committee in October 2013. Warning of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any detonation of nuclear weapons, the Joint Statement was endorsed by 125 countries, including Japan. He calls for a non-use agreement among the nuclear-weapon states as a key step toward abolition.

Ikeda reiterates his belief that 2015, the 70th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, offers a vital opportunity for the holding of a nuclear abolition summit. Specifically, he proposes a youth summit to amplify the voices of young people determined to rid the world of these outdated and destabilizing weapons. He introduces results of a survey carried out in 2013 by youth members of the SGI in nine countries which showed that 90% of young people consider nuclear weapons inhumane, while 80% want a treaty outlawing them.

"A Forum for Peace, Daisaku Ikeda's Proposals to the UN," a book containing highlights of 30 years of Ikeda's peace proposals, was published by I.B. Tauris in January 2014, with a foreword by Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, former Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the UN.

Daisaku Ikeda (1928- ) is a Buddhist philosopher, peacebuilder and author. He is president of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) lay Buddhist network with 12 million members around the world. Since 1983, Ikeda has issued peace proposals addressing key global issues and in support of the United Nations on January 26 every year, the anniversary of the founding of the SGI in 1975.

Contact:

Joan Anderson
Office of Public Information
Soka Gakkai International
Tel: +81-80-5957-4711
Fax: +81-3-5360-9885
E-mail: janderson[at]sgi.gr.jp

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