Buddhist Youth Step Up Momentum toward Nuclear Abolition, Spread Message of Peace
NAGASAKI, Japan, August 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — On August 2-3, 2014, youth representatives of the Soka Gakkai Buddhist association from Okinawa, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Tokyo held their 23rd annual Youth Peace Summit at the Soka Gakkai Nagasaki Peace Center.
Some 50 youth peace committee representatives reported on activities organized under the SOKA Global Action peace campaign launched in January 2014. These include 40 lectures given across Japan by hibakusha, survivors of the atomic bombings, as well as activities in support of the reconstruction of the Tohoku region and friendship exchanges with Japan’s Asian neighbors. Participants also planned an accelerated schedule of activities for 2015 to mark the 70th anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Youth Peace Conference Chair Nobuyuki Asai stated, “Conscious of the horrific consequences of violent conflict around the world, we feel keenly our responsibility to increase grassroots momentum toward a lasting peace. Nuclear weapons are by far the most destructive of all humanity’s tools of war, at the peak of the culture of violence. This is why we hope to work with other groups to create a global youth meeting demanding nuclear weapons abolition in Hiroshima or Nagasaki next year.”
To awaken young people to the fact that they can each make a difference in promoting dialogue and peace, Soka Gakkai is holding a series of youth festivals expressing young people’s pledges for peace in every prefecture of Japan during 2014.
Soka Gakkai youth members are also currently gathering signatures throughout Japan on a “Nuclear Zero” petition calling on the nuclear armed nations to work in good faith toward disarmament. They also continue to interview hibakusha for an ongoing series of books in Japanese and English recording first-person accounts for future generations.
On August 6 and 9, Soka Gakkai members will hold prayer meetings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively, marking the 69th anniversaries of the atomic bombings. Prayers will be offered in memory of victims of the atomic bombings and for all victims of war.
The Soka Gakkai lay Buddhist association has around 10 million members in Japan. Its activities to promote peace, culture and education are part of the longstanding tradition of Buddhist humanism.
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