Mayor of Hiroshima intends to attend meeting of State Parties of TPNW, hoping for opportunity to speak out for nuclear abolition

(by Kyosuke Mizukawa, Staff Writer)

At a press conference on January 28, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui expressed his intention to participate in the first meeting of State Parties of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) that entered into force on January 22. As Mr. Matsui also serves as president of Mayors for Peace, an organization composed of more than 8,000 cities at home and abroad, he expressed his desire to appeal for the abolition of nuclear weapons at the meeting from the standpoint of both a city mayor and an organization’s president.

The meeting of the State Parties is expected to be held in Vienna, the capital of Austria, as early as the end of this year. The TPNW stipulates that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) shall be invited as observers. Mr. Matsui said at the press conference that Mayors for Peace is considering the possibility of attending the meeting as an observer, and stated that the expenses necessary for his trip would be included in the initial budget plan for fiscal 2021.

Mr. Matsui also stressed his hope that, if he is allowed to participate in the meeting, he would like to be given an opportunity to speak primarily as a city mayor (Mayor of Hiroshima) and then as president of Mayors for Peace. He said that he would like to talk about his idea of advancing the elimination of nuclear weapons, with importance placed on the formation of consensus of civil society aiming at nuclear abolition and on the liberation from the theory of nuclear deterrence.

On this day, Mr. Matsui also reexamined the “2020 Vision,” action guidelines developed by Mayors for Peace in 2003, aiming for the total abolition of nuclear weapons by the year 2020. Although the conclusion of a treaty banning nuclear weapons, which was one of the concrete goals, has been realized, the elimination of nuclear weapons, however, has yet to be accomplished. Mr. Matsui cited how to increase the effectiveness of the TPNW as an issue to be tackled in the future.

Mr. Matsui also pointed out that in order for nuclear weapon states and their allies to conclude the TPNW, it is necessary to request they participate in the meeting of States Parties and other discussions toward effective operation and development of the treaty. He said he would advance discussion with executive cities so that Mayors for Peace can develop the next vision at the General Conference to be held in August this year.

(Originally published on January 29, 2021)