Hiroshima governor and mayor meet to discuss “Youth Foreign Ministers Meeting” in Hiroshima next March

by Kyoji Matsumoto, Staff Writer

Next April, a meeting of foreign ministers will be held in Hiroshima prior to the Group of Seven (G7) Summit (Ise Shima Summit) in May. To promote the meeting of foreign ministers, entities including Hiroshima Prefecture and the City of Hiroshima will hold a gathering tentatively called the “Youth Foreign Ministers Meeting” in Hiroshima between March 18 and 21 at the International Conference Center Hiroshima and other venues. At this gathering of youth, high school students and others from the G7 nations will share their views on world peace. On December 2, Hiroshima Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki and Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui announced the plan after discussing the idea at the Hiroshima prefectural government office.

The youth meeting is conceived as a preliminary event for the meeting of foreign ministers and will be organized by the council charged with promoting the foreign ministers’ meeting in Hiroshima. The council was established by 18 governmental and private groups, including Hiroshima Prefecture, the City of Hiroshima, the Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organizations (Hidankyo, chaired by Sunao Tsuboi). The council plans to invite a total of 24 participants: two representatives each from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Canada and twelve representatives from Japan. All participants will be chosen from the public.

The council plans to include activities in which the participants will be able to touch on the reality of the atomic bombing. The participants will visit the Peace Memorial Museum, offer flowers at the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims, and listen to accounts by A-bomb survivors. They will also draft a “Hiroshima Declaration” after discussing such themes as what young people can do to help realize a peaceful world. The council also plans for the participants to visit the island of Miyajima, in Hiroshima Prefecture, and engage in cultural experiences.

Mr. Yuzaki expressed his expectations for the gathering, saying, “I hope that the high school students from the participating nations will share their desire for peace and convey messages from Hiroshima about advancing a world without nuclear weapons.” Mr. Matsui said, “I would like to give my wholehearted support to the efforts made by young people, who will be responsible for the next generation.”

At their meeting, the two leaders also confirmed that they will work together to promote such measures as designating warning areas in line with a law designed to help prevent landslide disasters, following the major landslide disaster suffered in Hiroshima in August 2014. They agreed, as well, to make joint efforts to invigorate Hiroshima’s urban areas and promote the marine industry.

(Originally published on December 3, 2015)