Letter of Request to the Japanese Government to Call for the Promotion of Actions to Aid in the Early Realization of a “Nuclear Weapons Convention”

November 10, 2015

November 10, 2015

His Excellency Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan:

Request to Work toward the Early Realization of a Nuclear Weapons Convention

Since its inception in 1982, Mayors for Peace (President: Mayor of Hiroshima, Vice Presidents: Mayors of 15 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 6,893 member cities in 161 countries and regions worldwide, with its membership ever increasing. The number of Japanese member cities stands at 1,597, equivalent to 91.7% of all municipalities in Japan. For two days on November 9 and 10, 2015, we held the Fifth Mayors for Peace Japanese Member City Meeting in Hiroshima.

In August 1945, two atomic bombs instantly reduced Hiroshima and Nagasaki to rubble, taking more than 210,000 precious lives in these two cities. Even today, many A-bomb survivors still struggle with radiation aftereffects. If one witnesses the horrible devastation brought 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 an absolute evil.

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 80 years old, as possible can enter with us into a nuclear-weapon-free world.

The First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly currently in session in New York adopted a draft resolution, the “Humanitarian pledge for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons”, which was tabled by the governments of Austria and other countries, and supported by 128 countries. The Committee also adopted the draft resolution, “United action towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons”, which was tabled by the Japanese Government with a record 156 countries in support. In the resolution, Japan encourages visits by leaders, youth and others to the cities devastated by the use of nuclear weapons, as well as their attendance at testimonies given by atomic bomb survivors (hibakushas). States are encouraged to engage in appropriate multilateral forums to further explore effective measures necessary to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.

Furthermore, the First Committee adopted the draft resolution, “Taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations”, which was tabled by the governments of Mexico and other countries, and supported by 135 countries.

When government representatives gather at the United Nations in New York, from 27 – 31 March and 15 June to 7 July 2017, we call on them to engage in cooperative dialogue, to overcome their political and ideological differences, and to bring us closer to achieving a world without nuclear weapons.

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. Based on the current developments mentioned above, we call on the Government of Japan, as the only country to have suffered the atomic bombings, to continue 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.

               Respectfully yours,

               Third Mayors for Peace Japanese Member City Meeting
                   MATSUI Kazumi
                     Mayor of Hiroshima, President of Mayors for Peace
                   TAUE Tomihisa
                     Mayor of Nagasaki, Vice President of Mayors for Peace