日本語
 

October 1, 2017

Rissho Kosei-kai's Statement on
Japan and the US Policies against North Korea
Are Cause and Effect Coming Full Circle? What Do We Do Now?

Seventy-six years ago, the international community, led by the United States, launched a harsh economic embargo against Japan, which had invaded other countries. That embargo, however, triggered Japan’s preemptive strike on Pearl Harbor. We cannot help but think that the conditions currently surrounding North Korea are quite similar to prewar Japan’s and that North Korea is following the same path that Japan did in the days leading up to Pearl Harbor.

At the UN General Assembly, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, “Again and again, attempts to resolve issues through dialogue [with North Korea] have all come to naught. . . . What is needed to do that is not dialogue, but pressure.” The day before, delivering his address to the UN General Assembly, US President Donald J. Trump said that if the United States “is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”

It seems that cause and effect are coming full circle—Japan is now joining the United States in leading the international community in deploying economic sanctions and an oil embargo designed to increase the pressure on North Korea and restrain it. It is clear that applying greater pressure is risky. In fact, as the war of words between America and North Korea is escalating, we can easily imagine how much greater will be the danger of provoking the same result as in the case of prewar Japan.

No country understands the danger of the current situation as well as Japan, being one of the countries that have experienced the tragedy of war. Therefore, we wonder why our country is joining in the effort to push North Korea into a corner. We should stop and think about whether this is really the best approach for Japan to take.

When Rev. Nikkyo Niwano, founder of Rissho Kosei-kai, addressed the first Special Session of the UN General Assembly Devoted to Disarmament in 1978, he said to the leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union, “Instead of taking risks with arms, please take major risks for peace and disarmament.” Founder Niwano devoted the last half of his life to realizing world peace through interreligious dialogue and cooperation because, as a Buddhist, he vowed to keep the precept not to take life and to realize the ideals taught in the Lotus Sutra. However, was that all that had inspired him to do so?

Founder Niwano spoke about this as follows. “The basis of the idea on which I am presently giving my all to building world peace, is, of course, the Buddhist precept against taking life. However, the inspiration that roused my passion and compelled me to take action is the agony of having experienced those terrible days of acutely feeling, ‘No more war’ and an indescribable tranquility that I had felt on the day on which the war did end” (Kosei, August 1979).

Today, are we reliving prewar Japan and is our country about to repeat “those terrible days” that followed? Is it no longer possible to change course?

We can take a different course in the development of cause and effect. The “cause” of the present situation is created not only by political leaders, but it is within us Japanese citizens as well. We must make every effort not to repeat the same mistakes made in the past. Even though a similar situation is about to occur, we know from experience that the outcome will differ, depending on our attitude and our course of action. All of us share the responsibility to learn from the past, to use its lessons to put an end to a cycle of negative cause-and-effect, and to provide leadership that produces a different outcome in our world.

True dialogue has the power to change the world. We know that instead of strategizing against and putting pressure on another country, it is extremely effective to promote dialogue based on the courage to face one another and to build a relationship that eases the anxieties and fears of another country. Taking time to search out the way to avoid conflict and to coexist will lead to greater security for Japan and in turn, greater stability for the entire world.

We are living in a time of historical importance. Will we build a culture of peace through dialogue or will we usher in an era of conflict through the use of force—which will be Japan’s path forward? With the Japanese House of Representatives having been dissolved, this is the choice in the hands of each and every voter.

Although social systems may differ from one country to the next, there are many people in North Korea as well as in the world who continue to lead humble lives from one day to the next, always thinking of the happiness of their family members, just as we do. Now is the time to dedicate ourselves to heartfelt prayer for peace, for a world without war. Let us expand the circle of dialogue and work together for the sake of the happiness of all people around the world.


 

 
Kosei logo Website by UmeWorks, LLC