Japanese member cities of Mayors for Peace to gather in Nagasaki on January 17-18

by Michiko Tanaka, Staff Writer

Mayors for Peace, for which Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui serves as president, will hold a meeting of its Japanese member cities in Nagasaki on January 17 and 18. This is the second time the Japanese member cities have gathered with the first such meeting held in Hiroshima in 2012. The agenda will include modifying the name of the group in Japanese as members discuss replacing “mayors” with the term “heads of local governments” or other language to encourage wards, towns, and villages to join the group. Discussion will also be held on ways to enhance the group’s activities to advance the abolition of nuclear weapons.

The name change was proposed by more than one member city during last year’s meeting and remains a pending issue. Along with “heads of local governments,” the use of “municipalities” has also been suggested. If an agreement is reached on the name change, the issue will be brought to the general meeting slated for Hiroshima in August. The group will also reaffirm its intention to urge the Japanese government to exercise leadership for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

To strengthen the financial health of the organization, opinions will be shared on the idea of asking member cities to pay an annual membership fee of at least 2,000 yen.

Mr. Matsui, the Hiroshima mayor, will oversee the proceedings. Participants will visit the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum and listen to talks by an A-bomb survivor and the director of the Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition at Nagasaki University, Hiromichi Umebayashi.

The first meeting of the Japanese member cities was held in Hiroshima in January 2012. These gatherings of the Japanese member cities are designed to encourage mutual exchange and stimulate activity. As of January 1, 2013, 1,271 municipalities in Japan have become members of the organization.

(Originally published on January 8, 2012)