Hiroshima City not to invite Russian President to Peace Ceremony, as well as Belarusian ambassador to Japan

by Yasuki Yomura, Staff Writer

On May 20, the Hiroshima City government revealed it would not invite Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian ambassador to Japan to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony to be held on August 6 this year. According to the city government, this is the first time an invitation has not been extended to a leader of a nuclear weapon state to the ceremony since 1998, when it began to invite leaders of nuclear weapon states to the peace ceremony. The city government has made the decision in consideration of Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

The Citizens Activities Promotion Division of the Hiroshima City government explained, "Inviting the Russian President and the nation's ambassador to the ceremony may lead to a misunderstanding about Japan's stance regarding Russia." The city government said it reached the conclusion after consulting with Japan's national government. Since 2006, the city government has sent invitations to ambassadors from various countries to Japan as well. However, this year, it will not invite Belarusian ambassador to Japan, either, whose country supported Russia's attacks on Ukraine.

The Citizens Activities Promotion Division said, "If the international situation improves in the future, we will strongly request that they attend the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony and tour the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum."

(Originally published on May 21, 2022)