Buddhist leader calls on states to pledge ‘not the first use’ of nuclear weapons

SGI Chairman Daisaku Ikeda issues statement ahead of NPT review conference

On July 26, ahead of the Tenth Review Conference of the NPT (Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons) which opens on August 1 at UN Headquarters in New York, Soka Gakkai International (SGI) President Daisaku Ikeda has called on the five nuclear-weapon states to declare that they will never be the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict: the principle of “No First Use”.

Today, the risk of nuclear weapons being used is at its highest level since the Cold War. Ikeda, a passionate campaigner for nuclear abolition for more than 60 years, urges the five nuclear-weapon states under the NPT – the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China – to give body to one joint statement made by their leaders on January 3, 2022, that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought”, by declaring no-first-use policies.

He proposed that the following points be included in the Final Document of the Review Conference:

  • That the five nuclear-weapon States pledge to continue to abide by their January joint declaration, by immediately pursuing measures to reduce the risks posed by nuclear weapons in accordance with their nuclear disarmament commitments under the article VI.
  • That the five nuclear-weapon States, as a matter of the highest priority, declare their commitment to the principle of non-first use as soon as possible.
  • That in order to give concrete form to the joint statement that “none of our nuclear weapons are directed against each other or against any other State”, the principle of non-first use be universalized as security policy of all states possessing nuclear weapons as well as nuclear-dependent states.

Ikeda urges: “We must remember that the purpose of the NPT was never to establish continued nuclear threat and confrontation as the inevitable fate of mankind. He asks us to learn from the hibakusha of the world – the victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings and the nuclear weapons tests – who insist that no one, anywhere suffer what he endured.

Ikeda argues that the no-first-use pledge would also free up resources to protect people from shared threats such as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. Lily full statement here.

On August 4, during the NPT Review Conference, SGI will host a side event promoting No First Use with other like-minded organizations.

Daisaku Ikeda (1928 – ) is a Buddhist philosopher, author and president of Soka Gakkai International (SGI), an NGO promoting peace, culture and education with consultative status since 1983 with ECOSOC of ONU. Every year since 1983, Ikeda has authored Peace Proposals offering practical approaches to solving the complex global issues facing humanity, focusing on the need to abolish nuclear weapons.


Hiro Sakurai
SGI Office for United Nations Affairs
[email protected]

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