Yawata City, Kyoto, joins Mayors for Peace, leaving one city in Japan without membership in organization

by Michio Shimotaka, Staff Writer

On May 31, Mayors for Peace in pursuit of nuclear abolition, for which Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui serves as president, announced Yawata City in Kyoto Prefecture would join Mayors for Peace on June 1. The move would leave Sasebo City in Nagasaki Prefecture as the last remaining Japanese municipality without membership in the organization.

According to the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation, which serves as secretariat of Mayors for Peace, Yawata City applied for membership at the end of April. Yawata Mayor Shoko Kawata, who took office in November of last year, stated at a city assembly in February this year: “Nuclear abolition and a peaceful world without war is a long-cherished wish of humanity. We can agree to, and show, some understanding to the efforts and principles of Mayors for Peace.”

Sasebo City, the last remaining non-member city in Japan, answered in an interview with the Chugoku Shimbun that it was “considering” whether to join the organization. The Self-Defense Forces of Japan, as well as the U.S forces in Japan, are stationed in the city, which explained its position, saying, “Our basic policy is coexistence and symbiosis with the bases. There is a variety of opinions among citizens.” The Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation will continue to encourage the city to join Mayors for Peace.

As of June 1, Mayors for Peace has 8,397 member cities in 166 nations and regions, including 1,740 member municipalities in Japan.

(Originally published on June 1, 2024)