Hiroshima to host U.N. Conference on Disarmament Issues on November 29 & 30

by Kyosuke Mizukawa, Staff Writer

On August 28, the City of Hiroshima announced that the United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues will be held in the city this November to discuss nuclear disarmament issues. Organized by the U.N. Regional Center for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific, the two-day meeting will begin on November 29. The organizer will call for diplomats and experts from countries that support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, as well as from the nuclear states that oppose it, to participate in the conference to discuss measures needed to realize “a world without nuclear weapons.” The nuclear weapons ban treaty was adopted at the United Nations in July and signatures can be added to the document starting on September 20. This will be the fifth time, after a two-year interval, that the meeting is being held in Hiroshima.

This month Japan’s foreign ministry approached the City of Hiroshima about hosting the meeting to pursue “dialogue between the nuclear haves and have-nots” and the city responded favorably. While the Japanese government has clearly indicated that it will not sign or ratify the nuclear weapons ban treaty, saying that “the treaty will only widen the divide between the nuclear and non-nuclear nations, impeding the realization of a nuclear-weapon-free world,” the City of Hiroshima hopes to make use of this opportunity to share useful information and ideas to facilitate the ratification of the treaty and enhance its effectiveness.

It is not yet known who will take part in the conference. The participants will have the opportunity to offer flowers at the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Naka Ward, tour the Peace Memorial Museum, and listen to the accounts of A-bomb survivors to understand the damage caused by the atomic attack. The A-bomb city will also seek to convey its desire for nuclear abolition.

The last time the U.N. Conference on Disarmament Issues was held in Hiroshima was in 2015, the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing. The meeting opened on August 26 and lasted for three days, with 83 diplomats and experts from 23 countries and five international organizations in attendance. A total of 36 million yen in local costs to host the conference was divided equally between Hiroshima Prefecture and the City of Hiroshima. It is apparently unusual for local governments to accept a request of this nature midway through the fiscal year.

(Originally published on August 29, 2017)