Daisaku Ikeda begins his five-point proposal for nuclear weapons abolition with a reference to hope being inherent in the “solidarity of ordinary citizens.” He states, “If nuclear weapons epitomize the forces that would divide and destroy the world, they can only be overcome by the solidarity of ordinary citizens, which transforms hope into the energy to create a new era.”

Thus, Ikeda’s major thesis in his proposal is that it will require the mobilization of citizens throughout the globe – not leaders, but citizens – to create a new era free from the overriding threat of nuclear annihilation that continues to exist today. He does not dismiss leaders, but he understands that necessary change will require the rock-solid support of ordinary citizens.

Ikeda urges leaders reliant on nuclear weapons to ask themselves these questions: “Are nuclear weapons really necessary? Why do we need to keep them? What justifies our own stockpiles of nuclear weapons when we make an issue out of other states’ possession of them? Does humanity really have no choice but to live under the threat of nuclear weapons?” To seriously ask these questions and grapple with answers would be a large step forward.

Ikeda also dismisses the double standards that have been associated with nuclear weapons, quoting the 2006 Report of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission chaired by Hans Blix: “The Commission rejects the suggestion that nuclear weapons in the hands of some pose no threat, while in the hands of others they place the world in mortal jeopardy.” Ikeda is clear that there can be no “good” and “bad” nuclear weapons. They are all dangerous and threatening to humanity.

Ikeda’s proposal is based upon three important foundations that have characterized his leadership: clear vision, unyielding determination and courageous action. He asks that these traits be put into practice by his followers and by people throughout the globe for the goal of a nuclear weapons-free world.

The five points of the proposal are as follows:

  1. A shared vision of the five declared nuclear weapons states to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons, which they will announce jointly at the 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference.
  2. A United Nations Panel of Experts on nuclear weapons abolition, which will strengthen collaborative relations with civil society.
  3. Progress by parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty in strengthening nonproliferation mechanisms and removing obstacles to nuclear disarmament.
  4. Cooperation among all states in reducing the role of nuclear weapons in national security.
  5. A clear manifestation of will by the world’s people for an international norm that will provide the foundation for a new treaty, a Nuclear Weapons Convention, for the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

All of the points are based upon a five-year program, concluding in 2015, to lead the world to the threshold of creating a new treaty, a Nuclear Weapons Convention, which would provide for the phased, verifiable, irreversible and transparent elimination of nuclear weapons.

In addition to the five points, the proposal is filled with important insights, such as this: “The enemy is not nuclear weapons per se, nor is it the states that possess or develop them. The real enemy that we must confront is the ways of thinking that justify nuclear weapons: the readiness to annihilate others when they are seen as a threat or as a hindrance to the realization of our objectives.”

Daisaku Ikeda has set forth a powerful proposal to end the nuclear weapons threat to humanity. He is clear, however, that such a plan “will be no more than a dream if it remains locked up in one’s heart….What is needed is the courage to initiate action.” He has shown that courage. Now it is up to us to unlock our hearts and our courage, and to join in solidarity in seeking the goal.

Ikeda calls a world free of nuclear weapons “the greatest gift we can offer the future.” It is our collective responsibility to assure this gift is bestowed upon those who will follow us on the planet.

David Krieger is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (www.wagingpeace.org) and a Councilor on the World Future Council.