July 1, 2014
Urgent Statement regarding the Cabinet Decision
"On Development of Seamless Security Legislation to
Ensure Japan’s Survival and Protect Its People”
The government announced today the Cabinet decision “On Development of Seamless Security Legislation to Ensure Japan’s Survival and Protect Its People.” It allows Japan to exercise the right of collective self-defense, whereby the Japanese Self-Defense Forces may be deployed in armed conflict involving a country with which Japan is in a close relationship, and engage in combat activities even if Japan is not directly attacked. On March 10, 2014, Rissho Kosei-kai issued a statement, the “Opinion Concerning the Reinterpretation of the Constitution of Japan to Allow the Exercise of the Right of Collective Self-Defense,” expressing strong concern over Prime Minister Abe’s administration’s drive to reinterpret the Constitution of Japan. We wish to state our opposition to this new Cabinet decision as well.
In its published Cabinet decision, “On Development of Seamless Security Legislation to Ensure Japan’s Survival and Protect its People,” the government specifically states that “it is essential to avoid armed conflicts before they materialize and prevent threats from reaching Japan by further enhancing the deterrence.” According to the government’s responses in the Diet up until now, “whether or not to employ the use of force shall be evaluated comprehensively by the Cabinet at the time.” Approval of the use of force for collective self-defense is tantamount to the approval of war itself, and moreover, it would be absolutely intolerable for any Cabinet to presume to base such an act of state on its own reinterpretation of the Constitution.
Nikkyo Niwano, the founder of Rissho Kosei-kai, said, “If there is no suspicion, wars cannot start. Truly, trust is the basis for establishing a society.” It is our own efforts that are of utmost importance in sweeping away mistrust and cultivating trust.
Looking back on human history, we can see that wars have repeatedly broken out over doubt, mistrust, and suspicion between the peoples of various countries. We should have learned by now that “the lives and peaceful livelihood of the people” cannot be secured by military force and war. We need to remember this lesson that history has taught us, especially now. In order to truly build peace and security we must accept the differences of those on the other side, with the spirit of open-mindedness and mutual concession, and we must create, by being in agreement and cultivating trust, an infrastructure for living together with others. We believe that the task facing all of us now is to reinforce the foundations of trust-building in a variety of fields, starting with religion, in politics, economics, industry, the media, academia, education, culture, and tourism, making this the foremost strategic objective for realizing peace and security in the world. We believe that Japan’s international role is none other than that.
Shakyamuni teaches us, in the Dhammapada, “Truly, hatred does not cease by hatred. It ceases by compassion alone.” Opposing violence with violence, and responding to hatred with hatred gives rise to a chain of new violence and unending hatred. This is the truth that applies to any time—past, present, or future.
Rissho Kosei-kai has been working hard to promote the teachings of Buddhism—“abstinence from the taking of life,” “nonviolence,” and the spirit of “compassion”—as the first principles for realizing peace. Starting with persons of religion both in Japan and overseas, we have worked to bring about world peace, transcending national and regional differences and deepening exchanges and dialogue with people of all walks of life. We shall redouble these efforts from this point forward, and we renew our determination to place our trust in the power of peace that is embedded in the Constitution of Japan and to share this with the world.