Setsuko Thurlow meets with Hiroshima mayor and governor, seeks support for nuclear weapons ban treaty

(by Junji Akechi, Staff Writer)

On November 21, Setsuko Thurlow, 86, an atomic bomb survivor originally from the city of Hiroshima who now lives in Toronto, Canada, met with Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui at Hiroshima City Hall. Last December, Ms. Thurlow, as a representative of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), delivered a speech at the award ceremony for the Nobel Peace Prize. In her meeting with the mayor, she pressed Mr. Matsui to urge the Japanese government to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as the mayor of the A-bombed city of Hiroshima.

Ms. Thurlow stressed the positive impression she has of the city today, comparing it to the time when Hiroshima was reduced to ashes after the atomic bombing. She also said that, while in Hiroshima, she would like to know how the people were putting their hope into action so that a tragedy like Hiroshima will never happen again.

She asked Mr. Matsui whether he had urged the Japanese government to sign and ratify the nuclear weapons ban treaty. The mayor responded, “I want to adopt the approach of getting many more people to support the treaty, not criticizing those who may object to it. This is my principle, but some say that they are dissatisfied with it.” Indicating that he urged the Japanese government to conclude the treaty at a meeting of Mayors for Peace, for which he serves as president, Mr. Matsui said that he would like to focus his efforts not at the national level but at the level of his role as mayor, which is closer to local citizens.

On this day, Ms. Thurlow also met with Hiroshima Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki at the Hiroshima Prefectural Office. She also pressed the governor for action, saying that the A-bombed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki must take the lead in urging the Japanese government to sign and ratify the treaty.

(Originally published on November 22, 2018)