Mayor seeks to hold NPT Review Conference in Hiroshima in 2015

by Kanako Noda, Staff Writer

At a news conference on July 8, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui explained the significance of seeking to hold the next Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in Hiroshima in the year 2015, which will mark the 70th year since the atomic bombing. “I would like the leaders of the world to see the horror of the atomic bombing in order to further the aim of eliminating nuclear weapons,” the mayor said. If the city is successful in its bid, the conference will be held for the first time in a city other New York, where the United Nations headquarters is located, or Geneva, Switzerland, where the U.N. European office is located.

Mr. Matsui stressed the importance of holding the conference in the A-bombed city of Hiroshima, saying, “When people see the horror of the atomic bombing with their own eyes, I believe it deepens their understanding of the disaster. I would like the world leaders to experience Hiroshima directly in order to help strengthen their thoughts for peace.” Referring to the bid for the Olympic Games in 2020, which the city has decided not to pursue, the mayor added, “Although hosting the NPT conference may be difficult to realize, I would like to move forward with this idea in a positive fashion.” To advance the idea, the City of Hiroshima will now seek the cooperation of the City of Nagasaki and broach the possibility with Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United Nations.

  The NPT Review Conference is held every five years to verify the operational conditions of the NPT. To date, eight conferences have been held since 1975. The previous conference held in New York in 2010 unanimously adopted a final document with 64 items serving as the key components of an action plan, following a vow to create a world without nuclear weapons.

Mr. Matsui also touched on the three empty lots that will be created in the city after demolition work has been completed on the former municipal baseball stadium in Naka Ward, the Hiroshima University campus in Naka Ward, and the Hiroshima Prefectural Hiroshima West Airport in Nishi Ward. He expressed his intention to consider the use of this land by seeking a broad perspective, saying, “I will ponder how to tie these places together in a unified way.”


Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT)
The NPT, which took effect in 1970, is a multilateral treaty involving the three pillars of nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation, and the peaceful use of nuclear energy. In 1995, the treaty was extended indefinitely. The treaty limits nuclear weapon states to the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China, imposing on them the obligation to hold negotiations for nuclear disarmament. On the other hand, the de facto nuclear weapon states of Israel, India, and Pakistan are non-signatories to the NPT. North Korea declared its withdrawal from the treaty in 2003.

(Originally published on July 9, 2011)