All 14 major cities in Hiroshima Prefecture join Mayors for Peace

by Akira Yoshimura, Staff Writer

The Hiroshima Association of Mayors (President, Mihara Mayor Yasuyuki Goto) held a meeting in the city of Kure on April 22 where it was decided that all major cities in Hiroshima Prefecture would join Mayors for Peace, the international network of cities that has been actively promoting an “Emergency Campaign to Ban Nuclear Weapons” by the year 2020. This decision was made in response to a request from Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba, who also serves as President of Mayors for Peace.

At the meeting, Mayor Akiba urged, “It's imperative that we form a strong network not only overseas but also in Japan in order to create greater momentum for the abolition of nuclear weapons. We must combine the strength of every city to realize our goal.”

Responding to Mayor Akiba's appeal, Kure Mayor Kazutoshi Komura, who chaired the meeting, expressed his agreement and said, “Let us all support Mayors for Peace to achieve a more peaceful world.” The 14 mayors who were present at the meeting then pledged to join the organization.

Mayors for Peace was launched in 1982 in response to a call from the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the organization was subsequently registered as an official UN NGO. As of April 1, 2008, the number of member cities stands at 2,195 from 128 countries and regions.

Until now, only two cities, Hiroshima and Mihara, were members from Hiroshima Prefecture while from the larger Chugoku Region of western Japan, six other local governments had become involved (the cities of Unnan, Kurayoshi, Kaita, Sera, Akiota, and Osakikamijima). Membership in Japan as a whole had been low, but in February 2008, 68 new cities joined the organization, helping to build momentum for this movement.

After the meeting, Mayor Akiba commented, “It is highly significant, in terms of conveying the importance of the organization to the world, that every major city in Hiroshima Prefecture has now joined Mayors for Peace. The commitment of these cities adds stature to the organization.”