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70,000 Youth Gather for Future Action Festival

Youth pledge breakthroughs toward nuclear abolition and climate change.

Driving change—From throughout Japan, 70,000 young people participate in the Future Action Festival at the Tokyo National Stadium, Tokyo, March 24, 2024. The event brought together 28 partner and supporting organizations committed to resolving critical global issues. Photo by Photos by Seikyo Press.

TOKYO—Sharing a deep commitment to create a peaceful and sustainable future, some 70,000 young people gathered for the historic Future Action Festival, held on March 24, 2024, at the Japan National Stadium in Tokyo. The event aimed to spark action toward nuclear weapons abolition and the climate crisis.

The festival, which took place at the site of the 2020 Summer Olympics, brought together 28 partner and supporting organizations, including NGOs (among them the SGI youth in Japan) and U.N. organizations. Many private sector sponsors also supported the event. Another 500,000 viewers joined via livestream.

Video messages were shown from Felipe Paullier, U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Youth Affairs, and Melissa Parke, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which was the recipient of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.

As part of the event, the Organizing Committee of the Future Action Festival issued a joint statement on nuclear abolition and the climate crisis in advance of the Summit of the Future to be held in September at the U.N. Headquarters in New York.

The statement was based on the results of a survey administered by the Organizing Committee, to which some 120,000 people across Japan responded. Rector of the United Nations University and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Tshilidzi Marwala received the statement and delivered a speech in which he stressed the importance of youth participation in tackling global issues and emphasized that young people are a beacon of hope for driving change.

The festival also featured live music, dance performances and a panel discussion on nuclear abolition and sustainability. Outside the National Stadium, various booths and exhibits by cooperating and supporting organizations were on display, including a booth sponsored by the SGI youth featuring the testimonies of atomic bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki and highlighting SGI initiatives, such as the Antiwar Youth Summit and awareness surveys, promoting its philosophy to uphold the dignity of life.

This September, the U.N. Headquarters will host the once-in-a-generation Summit of the Future to foster greater cooperation in resolving critical global challenges and reaffirm and promote awareness of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include ending poverty, ensuring access to affordable clean energy and making clean water and sanitation available to the world’s population by 2030.

One of the pillars of discussion at the Summit will be involving young people in decision-making in national and international frameworks based on the expectation that youth proactively express their voices and engage in and move the international community.

For years, under the leadership of Ikeda Sensei, the Soka Gakkai has promoted awareness-raising campaigns at the grassroots level, centering on dialogue, participation in international conferences and proposals to address global issues. This festival is one such activity in which the SGI continues to act in solidarity with youth and civic groups.

April 19, 2024, World Tribune, p. 8

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