Mayors for Peace decides to postpone its general assembly in Hiroshima

by Junji Akechi, Staff Writer

Will make arrangements to hold meeting in August next year

On April 24, Mayors for Peace (for which Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui serves as president) announced that it would postpone its general assembly, originally scheduled to be held in Hiroshima from August 3 to August 6, due to the coronavirus pandemic. This would be the first time for the Mayors for Peace to postpone a general assembly, which is typically held every four years. The group said it would begin making arrangements to hold the meeting in August next year.

A new vision statement was expected to be developed at this year’s general assembly in anticipation of the year-end conclusion of the “2020 Vision,” a set of action guidelines that aim for the abolition of nuclear weapons by 2020. However, after consultation with its Executive Cities in the middle of April, Mayors for Peace decided to postpone the general assembly on the grounds that the “COVID-19 pandemic is unlikely to come to an early end.”

The 2020 Vision, formulated in 2003, pursues “physical destruction of all nuclear weapons” by 2020, among other objectives. Mayor Matsui explained at a press conference in November last year that the objective was considered “impossible to achieve.” He also indicated the direction of the next vision statement, expressing the intention to invest the organization’s efforts in creating an environment conducive to nuclear abolition without specifying a target year for abolition of the weapons.

The action plan through 2020 consists of such concrete measures as calling on the United Nations and national governments to act and expanding membership in the Mayors for Peace organization. The plan will provisionally remain in effect until the summer of next year.

As of April 1, 2020, Mayors for Peace had 7,902 member cities representing 163 of the world’s nations. At general assemblies, member cities discuss action plans and adopt appeals in pursuit of nuclear abolition. General assemblies have recently been convened by Hiroshima City and Nagasaki City alternately. The previous general assembly was held in the city of Nagasaki in August 2017.

(Originally published on April 25, 2020)