Hiroshima mayor to call nuclear weapons an “absolute evil” in August 6 Peace Declaration

by Kohei Okata, Staff Writer

On July 24, details were learned regarding the Peace Declaration to be read aloud by Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony on August 6. In his rejection of nuclear weapons, the mayor will use the term “an absolute evil” and he will call on the nations which rely on nuclear deterrence to abolish nuclear weapons from the world.

This will be the third Peace Declaration delivered by Mr. Matsui, and it comes at a time when there has been no major progress toward the elimination of nuclear arms. The mayor also called nuclear weapons “an absolute evil” in a speech he made this past April at the Second Preparatory Committee for the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). “Nuclear weapons are an extreme form of inhumane weapon,” he said at the time. “It is obvious that nuclear weapons are an absolute evil.”

The mayor will stress the evil nature of nuclear arms by describing the horrific consequences wrought by the atomic bombing and quoting the experiences of five A-bomb survivors who condemn the discrimination they faced in the postwar period and the hardships caused by the lingering effects of the blast.

The content of the Peace Declaration was discussed at a meeting of eight participants, including Mr. Matsui and Sunao Tsuboi, co-chairperson of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-bomb Sufferers Organizations. To leaders inside and outside Japan, the statement will point out the folly of relying on nuclear deterrence for national security. The mayor will instead appeal for security based on “trust and dialogue,” his strongly-held view, and speak about the significance of Hiroshima as the A-bombed city and the importance of the nation’s “peace constitution.”

Mr. Matsui will also refer to a growing trend in the international community to focus on the inhumanity of nuclear weapons with the aim of making these weapons illegal. The mayor will urge the Japanese government to strengthen its cooperation with other nations which seek the elimination of nuclear arms.

In early August, Mr. Matsui will share more of the substance of this year’s Peace Declaration.

(Originally published on July 25, 2013)