Peace Declaration to emphasize public’s desire to break away from nation’s dependence on nuclear energy

by Kanako Noda, Staff Writer

On July 19, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui outlined his Peace Declaration, which he will deliver at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony on August 6. In this year’s declaration, he will refer to the public's desire to break with nuclear power generation, which is a growing sentiment in the wake of the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 (Daiichi) nuclear power plant. He will also quote the words of the late Ichiro Moritaki, who said, “Humanity and nuclear power cannot coexist.” Mr. Moritaki was the first chair of the Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organizations. While the declaration will not touch on the pros and cons of nuclear energy, it will urge the central government to review the nation’s energy policy.

Earlier, a committee, consisting of A-bomb survivors and academic experts, among others, was formed to select A-bomb experiences to be included in the declaration. In its second meeting, held at Hiroshima City Hall, Mr. Matsui presented not only the selected A-bomb experiences but also the general outline of his declaration to the committee members. After the meeting, the mayor spoke to the media and explained that he brought together a variety of views on energy policy, including his idea of abandoning nuclear power generation.

It is the first time that A-bomb experiences have been sought from the public for inclusion in the Peace Declaration. Of the 73 submissions, the accounts of two people were selected. Through these experiences, the declaration will depict the contrast between the serenity of daily life before the atomic bombing and the devastation of the city right afterwards, including the feeling of helplessness people experienced. Injured themselves, they could do nothing for the victims, despite hearing cries for help.

Mr. Matsui explained, “Unlike previous declarations, which relied on logic, I would like people to come away with the feeling that nuclear weapons must be abolished and that it's important to seek a lasting peace.” In his declaration, the mayor will describe how the citizens of Hiroshima rebuilt the city with support from inside and outside Japan, while vowing to hand down the A-bomb experiences to future generations and make efforts to help realize the abolition of nuclear weapons. By the beginning of August, Mr. Matsui will complete his final draft of the declaration.

(Originally published on July 20, 2011)