Hiroshima Peace Declaration to urge Japanese government to back statement denouncing inhumanity of nuclear weapons

by Kohei Okata, Staff Writer

On May 17, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui revealed that he plans to urge the Japanese government to endorse an international joint statement denouncing the inhumanity of nuclear weapons in the Hiroshima Peace Declaration he will read aloud at the Peace Memorial Ceremony on August 6. He responded to questions on this matter at a press conference.

In the second session of the Preparatory Committee of the NPT Review Conference, held in April, a joint statement on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons was released. Eighty nations backed the statement.

Japan, dependent on the U.S. “nuclear umbrella” for its security policy, did not approve the statement, putting up resistance to the wording “It is in the interest of the very survival of humanity that nuclear weapons are never used again, under any circumstances.” The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that if a similar statement was issued on another occasion, they would give it serious consideration.

On May 11, Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue said, “In the Nagasaki Peace Declaration on August 9, we will speak out about the Japanese government’s unreasonable stance.” Mr. Matsui said, “I’m in a slightly different position from Mr. Taue. The Japanese government has made very positive statements about how it plans to handle this issue in the future. In the Hiroshima Peace Declaration, we will not criticize the government, but we would like to encourage the government to back the next joint statement.” Mr. Matsui said that he will consult with a group assembled by the city to consider including the A-bomb experiences of Hiroshima citizens in the contents of the declaration.

(Originally published on May 18, 2013)