City of Hiroshima announces outline of Peace Memorial Ceremony, to be attended by representatives from 87 foreign nations and EU

On July 11, the City of Hiroshima announced the outline of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, which will be held at the Peace Memorial Park in Naka Ward on August 6, the anniversary of the atomic bombing. To date, representatives from 87 foreign nations and the European Union (EU), the third largest in number, are expected to attend the ceremony, including five nuclear-armed nations. Against the backdrop of new movement toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and peace building in that region, as well as the first anniversary of the establishment of the nuclear weapons ban treaty, the ceremony will convey the wish of nuclear abolition from the A-bombed city. (by Kanako Noda, Staff Writer)

The city has sent letters of invitation to the ceremony to 157 nations. Of the nine nations that possess nuclear weapons, representatives from the United Kingdom, France, Russia, Pakistan, and Israel have indicated that they will attend the event, while China has said that it will be absent. The United States and North Korea have not yet responded. In all, responses have not been received from 13 nations, including these two. On behalf of Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Izumi Nakamatsu, the U.N. Under Secretary General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, will attend the ceremony. The number of prefectural representatives from the families of A-bomb victims will be 40, their average age 69.2.

The ceremony will start at 8 a.m. and is scheduled to last 50 minutes. Because of the anti-seismic reinforcement work that is taking place at the main building of the Peace Memorial Museum, the number of available seats at the ceremony venue will be 7,700, the same as last year. The International Conference Center Hiroshima, which is located close to the ceremony venue, will also broadcast the ceremony live in the conference halls “Himawari” (600 seats) and “Phoenix Hall” (1,500 seats).

Kenta Uetao, 33, a business owner and resident of Naka Ward, will be the representative of the bereaved families of the A-bomb victims, while Aoi Morishita, 11, a sixth-grade student at Mita Elementary School in Asakita Ward, will be the representative of children. They were selected to serve in these roles and toll the Peace Bell at the ceremony. Mr. Uetao and Ms. Morishita took part in a press conference at City Hall with Miori Shinkai, 12, a sixth-grade student at Ushita Elementary School in Higashi Ward, and Yuuhi Yonehiro, 11, a sixth-grade student at Itsukaichi-higashi Elementary School in Saeki Ward, who will read the Commitment to Peace. Ms. Morishita expressed her determination for the ceremony, saying, “I want to do my best so our wish for peace can be conveyed all over the world.”

(Originally published on July 12, 2018)