2023 Hiroshima Summit: Decision on main venue welcomed by local communities and support organizations, accelerating preparation for acceptance

On December 22, former candidate, the Grand Prince Hotel Hiroshima located in the city’s Naka Ward, was selected as the main venue for the summit meeting of G7 (The Group of Seven industrialized nations) to be held in May 2023. Local residents and support organizations welcomed the decision and are determined to accelerate preparations for acceptance. A-bomb survivors also expressed their desire for leaders of the participating countries to learn from the reality of the atomic bombing experience in the vicinity of the main venue.

Takaoki Kado, head of the neighborhood association of Motoujina-machi, where the hotel is located, accepted the decision as good news. He said, “The hotel had been a candidate for some time. We will now provide our utmost support during the remaining five months before the summit to ensure that fruitful discussions will be made.” The association is planning a large-scale cleanup of the town.

“We will make preparations with a greater sense of urgency,” said Daichi Hayashi, head of the promotion support section of the Hiroshima Summit Prefectural Council composed of and organized by the public and private sectors in Hiroshima prefecture. “We will work in close coordination with all relevant parties aiming at a secure, safe and smooth holding of the summit meeting,” he added with a determined look.

The Grand Prince Hotel Hiroshima was the venue for the 2016 G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. Haruo Hirase, the general manager of the hotel, said, “We will make preparations so we can offer even greater hospitality utilizing our know-how from international conferences and our measures related to hygiene developed under the COVID-19 pandemic.”

On the other hand, security is one of the most important issues. Since July when the summit countermeasure section was established in the Hiroshima Prefectural Police Department, it has conducted investigations on buildings including hotels. Toshihiro Hirahara, deputy section chief, said with a sense of determination, “We have analyzed every possible threat and risk and are now developing countermeasures, assuming the possible occurrence of various situations involving risks and threats. We will make preparations with all our resources to ensure the utmost safety of the visiting dignitaries and residents as well as the smooth progress of the conference.”

Sonoko Uezono, 96, a resident of Motoujina-machi, awaits the visit of summit leaders. She was exposed to the atomic bomb on Kanawajima Island on the opposite shore 77 years ago when she was 19 years old. As a member of the women’s volunteer corps, she took care of injured A-bomb survivors who were brought to the island. She said through tears, “Those who suffered severe burns were laid down in several rows. We cremated hundreds of bodies every day.” She also said firmly, “There was such a terrible experience on an island close to the summit main venue. I would like the leaders of the G7 countries to listen to our stories before they return to their home countries.”

(Originally published on December 23, 2022)