February 1, 2013
His Excellency Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan:
Request to Work toward Early Realization of a Nuclear Weapons Convention
Since its inception in 1982, Mayors for Peace (President: Mayor of Hiroshima, Vice Presidents: Mayors of 13 cities, including Nagasaki) has strived, through inter-city solidarity around the globe, to raise international public awareness of the need to abolish nuclear weapons, thereby contributing to the realization of lasting world peace. Mayors for Peace currently comprises 5,524 member cities in 156 countries and regions worldwide, with its membership ever increasing. The number of Japanese member cities stands at 1,271, equivalent to 73.0% of all municipalities in Japan. In January this year, we held the Second Mayors for Peace Japanese Member City Meeting in Nagasaki.
In August 1945, single atomic bombs instantly reduced Hiroshima and Nagasaki to rubble, taking more than 200,000 precious lives in these two cities. Even today, many A-bomb survivors still struggle with radiation aftereffects. If one witnesses the horrible devastation wrought by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it is obvious that nuclear weapons are the most inhumane of any weapon ever developed, and that nuclear weapons are the absolute evil.
We believe that it was of great significance that at the NPT Review Conference held in May 2010, all the signatory parties, including nuclear-armed states, agreed to undertake actions toward nuclear abolition, and unanimously adopted the final document. On the other hand, many challenges remained to be addressed; for instance, the final document did not set out specific deadlines for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
Under these circumstances, Mayors for Peace continues to work with citizens of member cities, NGOs and other organizations around the world to vigorously conduct our 2020 Vision Campaign, which calls for the total abolition of nuclear weapons by the year 2020. We have set 2020 as the target year so that as many of our aging hibakusha, whose average age is now over 78 years old, as possible can enter with us into a nuclear-weapon-free world.
In December last year, the plenary session of the UN General Assembly adopted, by an overwhelming majority, a draft resolution on nuclear disarmament titled “United Action toward the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons,” which the Government of Japan submitted along with a record 99 co-sponsoring nations, as in the year before last. One effective measure to completely rid the world of nuclear arms is a nuclear weapons convention that comprehensively bans the production, stockpiling, and use of nuclear weapons and all related activities.
In the international community, there is an accelerating drive to outlaw nuclear weapons, highlighting their inhumane nature. We call on the Government of Japan, as the only country to have suffered the atomic bombings, to further strengthen the global momentum toward the realization of a "world without nuclear weapons" in cooperation with other countries striving to delegitimize nuclear weapons, and to take leadership in launching substantive negotiations leading to an early realization of a nuclear weapons convention.
Second Mayors for Peace Japanese Member City Meeting
Mayor of Hiroshima, President of Mayors for Peace
Mayor of Nagasaki, Vice President of Mayors for Peace