Civic groups call on Hiroshima mayor to urge government to sign nuclear ban treaty in Peace Declaration

by Kyosuke Mizukawa, Staff Writer

Anti-nuclear groups submitted a written request to the City of Hiroshima on June 28, demanding that this year’s Peace Declaration of August 6 clearly urge the Japanese government to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The request was made by 23 anti-nuclear and peace organizations in Hiroshima Prefecture, including the Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition (HANWA), a citizens’ group, and two organizations of A-bomb survivors, both of which are called the Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organizations. The request says, “It is the mayor of Hiroshima who should lead the movement toward the effectuation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.”

Other groups involved in submitting the request addressed to Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui include the prefectural branches of the Japan Congress Against A- and H-Bombs (Gensuikin) and the Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (Gensuikyo), and ANT-Hiroshima, an NPO. The request says, “There is deep anger among A-bomb survivors and people of Hiroshima” about the Japanese government’s reliance on the U.S. nuclear umbrella and disregard of the nuclear weapons ban treaty, and calls on the mayor, in the Peace Declaration, to support the treaty and urge the Japanese government to change its policy.

Twelve people, including survivors, visited the International Conference Center Hiroshima, and Haruko Moritaki, 80, the co-chair of HANWA, submitted the written request to Sadahiro Yamafuji, head of the city’s Peace Promotion Division. Mr. Yamafuji said, “We will obtain opinions from the consulting committee on the Peace Declaration and consider how A-bomb survivors’ feelings toward the nuclear weapons ban treaty should be reflected in this year’s Peace Declaration.”

In his last year’s Peace Declaration, Mr. Matsui urged political leaders to “strive to make the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons a milestone along the path to a nuclear-weapon-free world.” But he did not clearly call on the Japanese government to sign and ratify the treaty. The next meeting of the consulting committee will be held in mid-July. Based on the committee’s opinions, Mr. Matsui will develop a draft for the declaration. The committee is composed of Mayor Matsui and eight other members including Sunao Tsuboi, 94, the chair of Hiroshima Hidankyo, which took part in the written request, and university professors.

(Originally published on June 29, 2019)