Youth Reject Nuclear Weapons, Survey in Eight Countries Shows

From January to March 2010, youth members of Soka Gakkai International (SGI) in eight countries conducted surveys of their peers’ attitudes toward nuclear weapons and their abolition in advance of the May NPT Review Conference.

A total of 4,475 interview surveys were conducted of people from their teens through 30s in Japan, Korea, the Philippines, New Zealand, the USA, Brazil, South Africa and the UK.

Asked whether the presence of nuclear weapons contributes to global peace and stability, 59.1 percent of respondents, including those from the nuclear states, said no.

Further, 67.3 percent said the use of nuclear weapons was not acceptable under any circumstances, with only 17.6 percent seeing it as acceptable as a last resort if a country’s survival was threatened and 6.0 percent to prevent international terrorism or genocide.

A total of 59.0 percent said they would feel safer if nuclear weapons were abolished.

Asked which countries possess nuclear weapons, 66.3 percent of the respondents identified the USA, 48.2 percent said Russia, 29.5 percent China, 19.4 percent the UK and 19.3 percent France. Fewer respondents were aware of the nuclear weapons possessed by India, Pakistan and Israel, while 40.0 percent thought North Korea had them.

Within the nuclear states, just 59.2 percent of US respondents were aware that their country possessed nuclear weapons, and only 43.2 percent of UK respondents were aware of their country’s possession.

Soka Gakkai student group leader Takahisa Miyao, the survey organizer, comments: "Almost 70 percent of respondents said the use of nuclear weapons was not acceptable under any circumstances. This is encouraging for us. Building on the widespread rejection of nuclear weapons by youth is key to efforts toward their abolition."

On May 11, the survey results were presented to Ambassador Leslie Gatan, adviser to the president of the NPT Review Conference, and UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Sergio Duarte at the SGI-USA Culture Center in New York City together with a petition of 2,276,167 signatures from youth calling for the adoption of a Nuclear Weapons Convention.

NB: Initially, results from six countries—Japan, Korea, the Philippines, New Zealand, the USA and the UK—were announced, with results from smaller surveys carried out in Brazil and South Africa added later to create an eight-country survey.

・ The full survey results can be viewed here.

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