Hiroshima mayor requests foreign minister to realize early conclusion of nuclear weapons convention

by Kohei Okata, Staff Writer

On February 1, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida, who represents the first constituency of Hiroshima Prefecture. Mr. Matsui requested that the Japanese government, as the nation that experienced the atomic bombings, play a leading role in realizing a nuclear weapons convention at the earliest possible date. Mr. Kishida would only say that the central government will continue its position of making practical steps toward disarmament.

Mr. Matsui and Shinichiro Tokumitsu, director of the Tokyo Office of Nagasaki City Hall, visited Mr. Kishida at the ministry and handed him a letter of request addressed to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. This letter was adopted at a meeting of the Japanese membership of Mayors for Peace on January 18.

The letter asks that the national government make efforts in collaboration with other nations which support outlawing nuclear weapons and pursue negotiations to conclude a nuclear weapons convention. “I urge the government to exert efforts in order to build global momentum toward realizing a world without nuclear weapons,” Mr. Matsui said to Mr. Kishida.

The ministry, however, takes a negative view when it comes to negotiating a nuclear weapons convention, since a number of nuclear powers do not support this step. After exchanging thoughts behind closed doors, Mayor Matsui said to the press, “The foreign minister understands that a convention is one of the most important mechanisms for realizing a world without nuclear weapons. He said he will be judicious as he moves forward and confronts the problems at hand.”

(Originally published on February 2, 2013)