Message for the Opening of the Exhibition “Everything You Treasure―For a World Free From Nuclear Weapons” (Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, October 2–13, 2019)
(Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, October 2, 2019)
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the end of nuclear weapons testing in Semipalatinsk, as well as the 10th anniversary of the entry into force of the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia. This year also saw the ratification by the Republic of Kazakhstan of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Together with expressing our profound respect for Kazakhstan’s continuing efforts to promote the cause of denuclearization in the face of numerous daunting challenges, I wish to share our sense of joy at being able to hold the exhibition “Everything You Treasure: For a World Free From Nuclear Weapons” here in this beautiful land of peace.
Semipalatinsk was of course the venue for the signing ceremony for the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia. It was also a pivotal site for a popular movement opposing nuclear weapons that arose in the late 1980s, the Nevada-Semipalatinsk Movement that famously developed into a global grassroots effort to ban nuclear weapons testing and nuclear weapons themselves.
This movement, which brought together people living in distant places and across differences of nationality and stance, powerfully communicated the message that there is no place on Earth that can remain immune to the inhumanity and dire threat of nuclear weapons. President Nazarbayev, who succeeded in realizing the world’s first closing of a nuclear weapons testing site, has written: “Nuclear weapons and radiation was far from being a distant theory for the people of Kazakhstan. It was a terrible and inexorable evil that had been devastating our land for more than four decades.”
A new solidarity of hope seeking a world free from nuclear weapons originated and spread from Kazakhstan. This is the brilliant history of creating peace that is engraved in the awareness of the world’s peoples.
Tomorrow, October 2, is the day, fifty-nine years ago, when I set out on the first of many travels around the world to promote a popular movement based on the ideal of respect for the dignity of life. This was a journey undertaken in the spirit of oneness with my mentor, second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda, as a disciple dedicated to realizing his commitment to eliminate needless suffering from the face of Earth.
In September 1957, at a time when the nuclear arms race was accelerating, my mentor issued a statement calling for the prohibition of nuclear weapons. In it, he asserted that it was utterly impermissible for any country ever to use nuclear weapons. This declaration was the starting point for the grassroots movement of dialogue that has since been undertaken by the SGI on a global scale.
What we must challenge and confront above all are the ways of thinking that justify nuclear weapons. By this, I refer to the extreme disregard for the sanctity of life embodied in the willingness to sacrifice the citizens of other countries, or even undermine the shared foundations for humankind’s continued existence, for the sake of one’s own security or prestige.
This exhibition, which was developed with the cooperation of the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), is an integral part of this effort. To date, it has been held in 90 cities in 20 countries. Kazakhstan is the 21st country where it has been seen, and this is the first showing of the Russian-language version of the exhibition.
“Do not lose your sense of justice and never tire of doing good.” These are the stirring words of your great national poet, Abai Kunanbaev. The members of the SGI are deeply committed to continuing to exert our fullest efforts, alongside our respected friends in Kazakhstan, toward the goal of a global society of peace and creative coexistence, a world free from the threat of nuclear weapons.
In closing, please accept this expression of my unending affection and respect for the Republic of Kazakhstan, and my heartfelt wishes for the further flourishing of your nation and her people.
(Read by proxy at the special opening on October 1, 2019)