Hiroshima mayor announces promotional video by Mayors for Peace to deliver message on nuclear weapons ban treaty to the world

by Junji Akechi, Staff Writer

On April 17, Kazumi Matsui, the mayor of Hiroshima, held a press conference and announced that a promotional video to introduce the activities of Mayors for Peace has been produced. Mr. Matsui serves as the president of Mayors for Peace. He expressed his desire to strengthen the organization’s efforts to fuel the signing and ratifying of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons among the international community. Mayors for Peace has 7,744 member cities from 163 nations and regions (as of April 1).

The video lasts about 10 minutes. The mayors of nine member cities from around the world, which are actively involved in the organization’s initiatives, including Hannover, Germany and Granollers, Spain, speak in the video. They introduce their efforts to call for their national governments to ratify the treaty, and other efforts like holding A-bomb exhibitions and pursuing projects for young people to raise awareness about peace in their cities. There are two versions of the video, one with English subtitles and another with Japanese subtitles, and both videos are now available on the internet, having been released in turn at the end of March.

Mr. Matsui was recently elected to serve a third term in the mayoral election that took place on April 7. During the campaign period, his current stance on the treaty became a point of controversy. One candidate argued that, as the mayor of Hiroshima, he should call on the Japanese government to sign and ratify the treaty.

Mr. Matsui said, “During the campaign, I was criticized for not appealing strongly enough for peace.” He stressed, though, that he has asked the central government to sign the treaty as the president of Mayors for Peace. He added, “The role of the mayor of Hiroshima is to convey the A-bomb survivors’ experiences and wishes to others. This is the message that should be delivered in the Peace Declaration. To promote concrete actions with regard to the treaty, it would be more effective to appeal to policy makers by joining forces with our many member cities.”

(Originally published on April 18, 2019)