SGI OUNA, ICAN 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Torchlight procession (Ralf Schlesener)

SGI Statement on the Ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons by 50 States

In Peace and Disarmament by SGI OUNA

On the occasion of the ratification of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) by the 50th state party, Honduras, on October 24, 2020, Soka Gakkai International made the following statement. The press release announcing the statement is available via Religion News Service. [Photo credit: ICAN/Ralf Schlesener]

We wish to wholeheartedly welcome the ratification, on October 24, 2020, UN Day, of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) by Honduras, meeting the 50-state minimum necessary for the entry into force. Three years and three months have passed since the treaty was adopted at the United Nations on July 7, 2017, with the support of 122 countries. The ratification threshold having been reached, the treaty will enter into force in 90 days, on January 22, 2021.

This year marks the significant milestone of 75 years since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We would like to express our deepest respect and appreciation to all those involved in the long struggle for a world free from the scourge of nuclear weapons, including the hibakusha, the states that played a leading role in this effort, the United Nations and its agencies, international organizations, as well as our friends and colleagues in the NGO community, such as the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), with whom we have worked over the years.

The entry into force of the TPNW establishes the fundamental norm that nuclear weapons are subject to comprehensive prohibition. This has a profound historical significance. It is to be hoped that more countries will ratify the treaty by the time of its entry into force, thus further strengthening it as a prohibitory norm. At the same time, I sincerely hope that the significance and spirit of the treaty will be widely disseminated among the world’s people.

Some have taken a critical view that the TPNW, by failing to take realistic security perspectives into account, has deepened the divide between nuclear-weapon and nuclear-dependent states and the non-nuclear-weapon states. As citizens, however, we absolutely cannot entrust the security of our lives and property to nuclear weapons. And to the extent there is a divide, this is due to the stalled implementation of the nuclear-weapon states’ obligation to achieve nuclear disarmament set forth in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The TPNW was established as a concrete measure to implement this obligation.

In this sense, we strongly hope that the nuclear-weapon and nuclear-dependent states, including Japan, will participate (as permitted by the Treaty) in the first meeting of States Parties to the TPNW to be held within one year from its entry into force, where they can consider a full range of concrete steps to abolish nuclear weapons and how best to fulfill their nuclear disarmament obligations.

We are deeply concerned that a grievous new arms race is beginning around the world. The modernization and miniaturization of nuclear weapons are advancing, threatening to make them more “usable.” Under such circumstances, the significance of the entry into force of the TPNW is truly profound.

It is up to civil society to decide if we will continue to tolerate humanity being held hostage by nuclear weapons, or whether we will raise our voices as an irresistible force for their banning and abolition. The Soka Gakkai and the SGI are fully committed to continuing our efforts to expand global people’s solidarity toward the realization of a world free from nuclear weapons.

Hirotsugu Terasaki
Director General, Peace and Global Issues
Soka Gakkai International (SGI)