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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 May 17 - 23  > Buddhist priest criticizes religious group-backed Komei Party for supporting ‘anti-conspiracy’ bill
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2017 May 17 - 23 [POLITICS]

Buddhist priest criticizes religious group-backed Komei Party for supporting ‘anti-conspiracy’ bill

May 16, 2017
“The Komei Party’s move to support the ‘anti-conspiracy’ bill is tantamount to putting its head in the noose. It devalues the death of Makiguchi Tsunesaburo, the founder of Soka Gakkai, a religious organization and the parent organization of the Komei Party,” said Ono Bunko, a Nichiren Buddhism priest and former associate professor at Rissho University.

The Abe government is intending to bulldoze through the bill to criminalize a vague definition of conspiracy which is criticized for violating the constitutional right to freedom of thought and conscience.

Ono, who is also an initiator of the Article 9 Association among religious people, said, “The Komei Party goes along with Prime Minister Abe’s intent to forcibly enact the controversial bill, undermining its own raison d’etre.”

Soka Gakkai was founded in November 1930 by Makiguchi who was a principal of a Tokyo elementary school. In the era of the Imperial Rescript on Education which imposed absolute loyalty to the Emperor on the general public, Makiguchi stood firm in defense of the idea of Nichiren Buddhism. He insisted that the purpose of life is to promote happiness and explained that happiness is synonymous with the ability to create and learn humanistic values. As the result, in 1943, he was arrested on charges of acting against the Public Order Maintenance Law and died in prison.

After the end of WWII, Soka Gakkai launched a political organization, the Komei Party, with the aim to realize politics that reflect Makiguchi’s philosophy.

Ono pointed out that the fundamental principle of Soka Gakkai is humanism respecting free individuals which was developed by Makiguchi who opposed the wartime regime suppression of civil liberties. He also said that Soka Gakkai originally sought to reform society through pragmatic education and realize a salvation system based on Nichiren’s teachings. Ono said that these basic principles conflict with what the ‘anti-conspiracy’ bill aims to accomplish.

Ono said that the bill must be scrapped as it will lead to a society similar to the wartime Japan which oppressed even religious people who voiced their objection to war.
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