Message to Hiroshima Summit: Hideki Fukayama, A-bomb survivor and honorary chair of the Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce and Industry proposes ‘All-Hiroshima’ hospitality

by Naoki Enomoto, Staff Writer

Hideki Fukayama, 81, currently serving as honorary chair of the Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce and Industry, led an effort to attract the summit meeting of the G7 (Group of Seven industrialized nations) to Hiroshima in 2016, when he served as chair of that organization, in cooperation with the Hiroshima Prefectural and City governments. Because those efforts failed to bear fruit at the time, Mr. Fukayama has higher expectations for the upcoming Hiroshima Summit. He is calling on people to offer ‘Hiroshima hospitality’ at the time of the summit, for which the city will garner attention from around the world. With that, he says, visitors will learn more about Hiroshima, a city that has recovered from the atomic bombing precisely because it is at peace, and lead to their repeated visits in the future.


My hope is to make the Hiroshima G7 Summit a starting point toward “a world without nuclear weapons.” I want the leaders of the G7 nations to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, located in the city’s Naka Ward, and listen directly to A-bomb survivors and the stories of their experiences in the atomic bombing.

At the summit, held in the A-bombed city of Hiroshima for the first time, Mr. Fukayama expects global leaders to take a first step toward achieving permanent world peace. The background for that appeal is his experience of the atomic bombing near his family home, in the area of present-day Higashihonura-cho in Hiroshima’s Minami Ward, when he was three years and ten months old.

After the flash, the corn plants in the field rustled and swayed. I then saw the blast from the bombing approaching with a cloud of dust it was kicking up. I don’t remember what happened to me after that, but I do know that I didn’t suffer any injuries. My brother, who had been drafted into the military, was on the Western Drill Ground, in what is now the city’s Naka Ward, at the time of the bombing and died one week later. I cannot forget the memory of him writhing in agony and great pain.

We should never forget the fact that we are living in a peace that was built on the sacrifices of victims of past wars and conflicts. Hiroshima was able to recover from the tragedy of the atomic bombing and continue its development precisely because the city has enjoyed peace over that time.

Despite Hiroshima failing to be selected to host the G7 summit in 2016, then-U.S. President Barack Obama visited Peace Memorial Park, in the city’s Naka Ward, following the Ise-Shima Summit, which was held that year in Japan’s Mie Prefecture. Mr. Fukayama was invited to an event related to the president’s visit to Hiroshima as a representative of the local business community, taking in Mr. Obama’s address from a seat in the second row.

I clearly remember two statements in President Obama’s address. “Realizing that ideal has never been easy, even within our own borders, even among our own citizens. But staying true to that story is worth the effort” was one of them. Another was, “We are part of a single human family: That is the story that we all must tell. That is why we come to Hiroshima.” Those are sentiments I want to convey to the G7 leaders in Hiroshima.

Seven years have passed since the historic visit by President Obama. Mr. Fukayama anticipates that the upcoming G7 summit will provide Hiroshima with the opportunity to communicate its name more broadly, worldwide, leading to increases in tourist and visitor numbers as well as in international conferences.

The economic effect of holding the summit is significant, as seen in the example of the previous Ise-Shima Summit. I think we can anticipate similar effects in Hiroshima, which is already an international city of international renown. I hope that visitors from both Japan and overseas will thoroughly enjoy the attractiveness of the city and its surrounding areas, including the natural beauty, world heritage sites, historic buildings, kagura (Shinto music and dance performances), and local food culture, leading them afterward to return to Hiroshima multiple times.

I propose that all residents of Hiroshima City and Prefecture, not only stakeholders from local companies or individuals directly related to the summit, welcome the international visitors to our city with smiles and the English greetings, “Welcome to Hiroshima.” Having an ‘All-Hiroshima’ mindset for hospitality would certainly impress our guests.

Hideki Fukayama
Born in Hiroshima’s Minami Ward in 1941, Hideki Fukayama graduated from the Faculty of Politics and Economics at Hiroshima University. After graduation, Mr. Fukayama joined Hiroshima Gas in 1964. He served as the president of the company for about nine years, starting in June 2001. Later, he assumed the post of the company’s chairperson, ultimately stepping down from that position in June 2017. His term as chair of the Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce and Industry continued from December 2010 until October 2019.

(Originally published on January 30, 2023)