Hiroshima City to attend first TPNW States Parties meeting and convey reality of atomic bombings, aiming to enhance TPNW’s effectiveness

by Kyosuke Mizukawa, Staff Writer

On January 24, it was learned that the Hiroshima City government would send a delegation to the first meeting of the States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which entered into force on January 22. Hiroshima City will include expenses related to the trip in its initial budget for fiscal 2021. The city government plans to send to the meeting Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, who also serves as chairperson of Mayors for Peace, an organization that works to communicate the reality of the atomic bombings and eliminate nuclear weapons. The meeting is expected to be held in Vienna, Austria, around the end of this year. In this way, Hiroshima hopes to contribute to enhancing the effectiveness of the treaty.

The treaty’s preamble recognizes the efforts made by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) toward the total abolition of nuclear weapons. The treaty also stipulates that NGOs should be invited to attend the meetings of States Parties as observers. According to sources, the meetings will be attended by persons in charge of nuclear disarmament from various countries, and NGOs will be provided an opportunity to speak at the venue.

The Hiroshima City government attaches great importance to the first meeting, which is the first such gathering following effectuation of the treaty. Unclear, however, is whether, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the delegates will be able to gather together for the meeting. However, the first meeting will serve as a good opportunity for the Mayors for Peace to convey its message. The travel, accommodations, and other expenses are expected to be budgeted.

As of January 1, Mayors for Peace had a membership of 8,002 cities in 165 countries and regions, with the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation serving as the organization’s headquarters. On behalf of Mayors for Peace, in 2017, Mr. Matsui attended a meeting held for negotiations surrounding the treaty’s establishment at the UN Headquarters in New York City. He delivered a speech as an NGO representative and called for adoption of the treaty. “Hibakusha strongly hope to see nuclear weapons eliminated while they are still alive,” he said at the time.

During the meetings of the States Parties, discussions will be held on how the treaty is being implemented and what further measures should be taken for nuclear disarmament. The treaty stipulates that states that are not party to the treaty, as well as NGOs, will be invited to attend the meetings of States Parties. Nevertheless, Japan’s national government has indicated it will not sign or ratify the treaty and even continues to adopt a wary stance about attending the meetings as an observer.

(Originally published on January 25, 2021)