In July 1260, at a time when Japan was suffering from relentless natural disasters, a priest named Nichiren wrote to Hojo Tokiyori, an influential member of the ruling Kamakura shogunate. Nichiren warned that internal strife and foreign invasion were bound to follow. In one passage he stated: ‘If you care anything about your personal security, you should first of all pray for order and tranquillity throughout the four quarters of the land.’
Today, as in 13th-century Japan, we face the urgent challenge of how the failures of one state to protect its people directly affect other states. Nichiren would today be described as a proponent of ‘human security’ – the idea that the security of the state ought to be founded on ensuring the security of its people.