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A Revolution in Disarmament

General Secretariat Building
U.N. Headquarters, New York. On Oct. 24, the U.N. treaty banning nuclear weapons reached its precondition for entry into force. Bob Krist / Getty Images

Hiroshima Atomic bomb survivor Setsuko Thurlow cried tears of joy when she learned that, on Oct. 24, the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons had reached the 50th member state required for its entry into force.

The treaty, the first international instrument to comprehensively ban nuclear weapons, will have legal force and effect from Jan. 22, 2021.

In a statement published on the website of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Mrs. Thurlow, a longtime campaigner herself, said: “Like many survivors, I made a vow that [the atomic bomb victims’] deaths would not be in vain and to warn the world about the danger of nuclear weapons, to make sure that no one else suffers as we have suffered. I made a vow to work for nuclear disarmament until my last breath.”

On Aug. 6—the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima—the Soka Gakkai joined 188 other interfaith organizations around the world to sign a joint statement reaffirming that “the presence of even one nuclear weapon violates the core principles of our different faith traditions and threatens the unimaginable destruction of everything we hold dear.”

Hirotsugu Terasaki, the SGI director-general for Peace and Global Issues, said it is the responsibility of civil society to determine whether humanity will continue to be “held hostage by nuclear weapons, or whether we will raise our voices as an irresistible force for their banning and abolition.”

—Adapted from InDepthNews, accessible at

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