Hiroshima mayor set to appeal for nuclear abolition at PrepCom for NPT Review Conference in May

by Uzaemonnaotsuka Tokai, Staff Writer

On April 24, the City of Hiroshima announced details involving a delegation from Hiroshima to the third PrepCom for the 2010 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, scheduled from May 4~15 in New York. According to the trip’s itinerary, Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba will deliver a speech at a meeting organized by non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The City of Hiroshima has also sought to secure an opportunity for Mr. Akiba to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama and will continue to pursue this possibility. Four atomic bomb survivors (hibakusha) will also join the delegation.

Mr. Akiba will stay in the U.S. from May 4~9. Along with Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue, he will attend the “NGO Session,” an official event to be held at U.N. headquarters on May 5. Both mayors will deliver five-minute speeches at this gathering. In their speeches they will call for the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol, which aims to eliminate nuclear weapons from the world by 2020, to be adopted at the NPT Review Conference next spring.

Mr. Akiba will also attend a conference organized by international NGOs and join meetings with government officials from various nations in an attempt to create consensus for the adoption of the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol. On May 7, he will head to Washington, D.C. Though the City of Hiroshima has requested meetings with Mr. Obama and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, a favorable reply has not yet been received.

Mr. Akiba commented: “I hope to meet with top officials in the U.S. government and confer with them on establishing a system of cooperation between the U.S. government and cities worldwide in pursuit of the elimination of nuclear weapons.”

Four hibakusha from Hiroshima will accompany Mr. Akiba to New York and offer testimonies of their A-bomb experiences at a conference organized by NGOs. One of the hibakusha, Emiko Okada, 72, expressed her determination for the effort, saying, “I want to convey the voices of Hiroshima to the world, now that the momentum for nuclear abolition is building.”

(Originally published on April 25, 2009)