Hiroshima mayor to appeal for nuclear abolition at U.S. Conference of Mayors

by Hiroki Takigawa, Staff Writer

It was learned on June 4 that Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba will visit the U.S. on June 11 and deliver a speech at the annual meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM). Mayor Akiba is also seeking a meeting with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who will also attend the meeting. If the meeting with Mr. Biden takes place, Mr. Akiba will use the opportunity to call for U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to the A-bombed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

USCM invited Mr. Akiba to attend this year’s meeting, scheduled to be held in Providence, Rhode Island from June 12-15. Readily accepting the invitation, the mayor requested a meeting with the vice president through the administrative office of USCM. He has already conveyed his wishes to call on Mr. Biden on June 15, the last day of the gathering, to urge Mr. Obama to visit Hiroshima and continue advocating for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Mr. Akiba will address the opening session of the USCM meeting on June 12 and also speak to its standing committee on international affairs. He will call for USCM cooperation so that the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol can be adopted at the 2010 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference next spring.

USCM was established in 1932 and has roughly 1,200 member cities, each with a population of at least 30,000. Mayors of more than 250 cities are expected to attend this year’s meeting and over 1,000 people, including those from companies and public institutions, will take part.

USCM has already passed resolutions in support of the “2020 Vision,” an urgent effort to eliminate nuclear weapons by the year 2020, and the “Cities Are Not Targets” project, which has pressed nuclear weapon states not to attack cities. Both projects have been proposed by Mayors for Peace, for which Mayor Akiba serves as president.

(Originally published on June 5, 2009)