Hiroshima mayor says target year for nuclear abolition may not be included in next Mayors for Peace vision statement

by Junji Akechi, Staff Writer

On November 6, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, who also serves as president of Mayors for Peace, announced that the group may not include a specific target year for the abolition of nuclear weapons in its next vision statement, to be finalized next summer. The group’s current vision statement, which is an action plan known as the “2020 Vision,” seeks to realize nuclear abolition by 2020. The group, instead, wants to put more emphasis on generating momentum for the elimination of nuclear arms. This proposal will be presented at the group’s executive conference, taking place in Hannover, Germany on November 11 and 12.

During his press conference, Mr. Matsui appraised the target year for nuclear abolition in the group’s current vision statement, which was crafted in 2003, by saying, “A target year was made part of this vision to show our determination to realize a world without nuclear weapons while the A-bomb survivors are alive.” However, referring to the difficult international conditions involving nuclear disarmament these days, he said, “Under the current circumstances, it isn’t possible for city mayors to change this global trend right away through the power we can exert. We want to pave the way for resolving this issue by helping to create a civil society that wishes for a peaceful world.” He mentioned the idea of making long-term efforts to advance momentum for the abolition of nuclear weapons at a grassroots level.

The executive conference of Mayors for Peace will be attended by the mayors of 11 executive cities, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The conference will discuss the 2020 vision and what has been achieved to date regarding the group’s action plan, as well as the next vision statement. Mr. Matsui said, “We will consider the efforts we have made so far, and contemplate the role that should be taken by Mayors for Peace in the future.”

During the press conference, Mr. Matsui also touched on the Resolution on Nuclear Disarmament, which was submitted by the Japanese government and adopted at the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly. Regarding the fact that this year’s resolution included far less information on the inhumane characteristics of nuclear weapons compared to the resolution submitted last year, he said, “As the government of the only nation to have experienced atomic bombings, it is very important that Japan demonstrate that it has taken in the wishes of the A-bomb survivors for nuclear abolition.” Furthermore, he expressed his hope that the Japanese government will exercise leadership in promoting efforts for nuclear disarmament and the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

(Originally published on November 7, 2019)