Tatsushi Arai


Confronting the desire to arm: Josei Toda’s declaration for the abolition of nuclear weapons by Tatsushi Arai, Assistant Professor of Conflict Transformation, School for International Training, Battleboro, Vermont, USA. Abstract: On September 8, 1957, Josei Toda, the second president of the Japanese Soka Gakkai Buddhist organization, issued a declaration for abolishing nuclear weapons as his will to future generations. Toda viewed destructive functions inherent in human nature as the ultimate cause of nuclear war and sought to transcend the prevailing discourse of “we-ness” and “they-ness,” the divisive tendency typical of the superpower rivalry during the Cold War. To this end, he issued a death sentence to such destructive functions justifying the use of nuclear weapons. This paper argues that the moral courage demonstrated by Toda’s declaration is of enduring value in the age of globalization, where it is increasingly difficult to take a clear and uncompromising stand to abolish nuclear weapons. His declaration also holds a key to establishing a new discourse of active humanitarianism that seeks to inspire and guide a broad-based civil society movement toward nuclear disarmament.