Hiroshima mayor is invited to attend Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony

by Kohei Okata, Staff Writer

It was learned on November 14 that Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui’s schedule is being arranged so that he can attend the award ceremony for the Nobel Peace Prize, which will take place in Oslo, Norway on December 10. At the ceremony, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), an international non-governmental organization (NGO) will receive the prize. Mr. Matsui has been invited to the event by the host organization. By attending the ceremony as a representative of the people of Hiroshima, Mr. Matsui will be part of a historic moment when an A-bomb survivor mounts the stage to deliver an acceptance speech.

According to city officials, the municipal government has received a letter of invitation and has been adjusting the mayor’s schedule. The award ceremony in Norway will take place during a regular meeting of the Hiroshima City Council, and a general inquiry session will be held on December 11, the day after the award ceremony. For Mr. Matsui to be able to take part in the ceremony, it is necessary to change the schedule which was agreed upon by the assembly steering committee. Some members have expressed the view that the mayor should be allowed to attend the ceremony.

ICAN was selected as this year’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate for its “ground-breaking efforts” to realize the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was adopted this past July. Mayors for Peace, for which the Hiroshima mayor serves as president, has been cooperating with ICAN as one of its international partners. Aiming to abolish all nuclear weapons by 2020, Mayors for Peace has been pursuing an international petition drive calling for all nations to join the treaty as soon as possible.

Beatrice Fihn, ICAN’s executive director, and Setsuko Thurlow, 85, an A-bomb survivor who is originally from Hiroshima and now lives in Toronto, Canada, will go on stage at the award ceremony, receive a medal, and give speeches. The Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations will send its co-chair, Terumi Tanaka, 85, and assistant secretary general, Toshiki Fujimori, 73, to attend the ceremony.

(Originally published on November 15, 2017)