Hiroshima mayor to speak on nuclear abolition at NGO conference in Mexico

by Uzaemonnaotsuka Tokai, Staff Writer

On August 19, it was learned that Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba will deliver a speech at the annual general meeting of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) organized by the U.N. Department of Public Information. The conference will be held in Mexico City from September 9-11. At the request of the United Nations, Mr. Akiba will attend the meeting as president of Mayors for Peace for the first time and appeal for the elimination of nuclear weapons. Mr. Akiba will also seek a meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The theme of the 62nd Annual NGO Conference is “For Peace and Development: Disarm Now!” Roughly 2,000 NGOs from about 90 nations will gather for the event. The mayor will speak on the afternoon of September 11, the last day of the conference. He will propose building momentum for nuclear abolition, stressing that overcoming global challenges involving the environment, poverty, and other issues is inextricably linked with nuclear abolition, since nuclear weapons entail enormous costs. He is also considering calling on government officials from various nations to allocate their military expenditure for environmental measures and measures to fight poverty.

If the meeting between Mayor Akiba and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who will visit the venue of the conference, takes place, the mayor will seek Mr. Ban’s support so that the “Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol,” which provides a roadmap for the abolition of nuclear weapons by 2020, can be adopted at the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference next spring.

Mr. Akiba had planned to visit Russia in September and call for nuclear abolition in five cities, including Moscow. However, in light of the importance of ties with NGOs in anticipation of the NPT Review Conference, he will postpone his trip to Russia until the next fiscal year or later.

(Originally published on August 20, 2009)