Mayors for Peace domestic conference, emphasizing role of cities in antinuclear movement, opens in Gifu Prefecture

[by Junji Akechi, Staff Writer]

On November 5, a two-day general assembly of Japanese member cities of Mayors for Peace (for which Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui serves as president) opened at a hotel in Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture. In his address to the participants, Mr. Matsui expressed great concern over the announcement made by the United States that it plans to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and asserted that the role of local governments in the antinuclear movement has now grown in importance.

On the first day of the meeting, 128 people from 81 municipalities, including 36 municipal heads, took part. Pointing out that a number of trends running counter to nuclear disarmament can be seen worldwide, Mr. Matsui emphasized the role of municipalities for advancing nuclear abolition by saying, “Wherever municipalities are located, their mission is to ensure the safety and security of all citizens. The role of municipalities is now being called into question.”

Michihiro Kunishima, the mayor of Takayama, introduced that city’s peace declaration, which states “Takayama will hand down the tragedy and folly of nuclear weapons to future generations,” as well as the city’s efforts to contribute to the cause of creating a nuclear-free world. Mr. Kunishima also mentioned that despite being only a small city in a mountainous region, Takayama will do everything it can do to help prevent the tragic consequences of war from occurring again. At the gathering, elementary school students and junior high school students from Takayama reported on the results of the peace education program they have received in the cities of Takayama and Hiroshima.

The number of Japanese municipalities that are members of Mayors for Peace now totals 1,730. This year’s general assembly is the 8th assembly of its kind. Reports on the activities being pursued by each member city will be made on November 6.

(Originally published on November 6, 2018)