President and Secretary General visited Belgium, Austria and UK while in Europe for the 9th Executive Conference of Mayors for Peace

November 12 - 13, 2015 [Ypres, Belgium]

Mr. Kazumi Matsui, Mayor of Hiroshima and President of Mayors for Peace, attended the 9th Executive Conference of Mayors for Peace held in Ypres, Belgium to discuss and decide future plans of Mayors of Peace as well as other peace-related events.

Mayor Matsui also visited Vienna to attend the opening ceremony of an exhibition on the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the United Nations Office. This visit occurred after first going to Manchester and London to attend official events and have meetings with local mayors

Schedule of the Mayor of Hiroshima, President of Mayors for Peace, from November 10 (Tuesday) to 19 (Thursday), 2015

November 11 (Wednesday)
Courtesy Call to the Deputy Mayor of Ypres

Prior to the Executive Conference, Mayor Matsui visited Ypres City Hall to meet Deputy Mayor Jef Verschoore. Mayor Matsui presented him with an explanatory plaque for the ginkgo tree that had been donated from Hiroshima to Ypres in 2012. This tree is an offshoot from an A-bombed ginkgo. A wreath of paper cranes was also presented to Ypres. The two officials discussed the news that Mayors for Peace received the first La Pira Prize at the “Unity in Diversity” International Conference that took place in Florence, Italy, the week before. Deputy Mayor Verschoore handed Mayor Matsui the certificate and plaque for the Prize.

November 12 (Thursday)
Attendance of the 9th Executive Conference of Mayors for Peace

Eleven cities participated in the Conference and discussed the future plans of Mayors for Peace. In addition to determining intensified future activities for Mayors for Peace based on the 2020 Vision goals, attendees decided that Mayors for Peace shall address such pressing issues as poverty, refugees, and climate change, in accordance with Article 3 of the Mayors for Peace Covenant. They also confirmed that the Mayors for Peace General Conference in 2017 will be held in Nagasaki City and that the following General Conference will be held in Hiroshima City in 2020.

Attendance of the Last Post Ceremony

Mayor Matsui attended the Last Post Ceremony which has been held every night since 1928 to commemorate those who died in WWI. Mayor Matsui and Mayor Taue of the City of Nagasaki offered flowers on behalf of Mayors for Peace while surrounded by many citizens of Ypres.

November 13 (Friday)
Attendance of the second day of the 9th Executive Conference of Mayors for Peace

The Conference adopted a Resolution in which Mayors for Peace urges all governments to participate in the United Nations Open-Ended Working Group which is to be established next year in order to undertake substantive work on legal measures to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.

The General Meeting of the 2020 Vision Campaign Association

Following the Executive Conference, the 2020 Vision Campaign Association Secretariat held its General Meeting. It was decided that the Hiroshima Secretariat take over the 2020 Vision Campaign from the City of Ypres. The participants also discussed a new campaign proposed by Ypres aiming to ban the use of WMD.

November 14 (Saturday)
Attendance of a formal ceremony confirming the City of Manchester as a Lead City of Mayors for Peace

Mayor Matsui visited Manchester, UK, and conferred on Lord Mayor Paul Murphy a certificate of their status as a Lead City of Mayors for Peace. Mayor Matsui asked Lord Mayor Murphy that Manchester further promote its cooperation with Mayors for Peace and continue to take the initiative in activities in the UK and Ireland region.

Attendance of the “Project G” Event

Mayor Matsui attended a special school event where schoolchildren in Manchester presented their artwork and thoughts on peace as part of ‘Project G,’ an initiative that saw gingko seeds from trees that survived the bombing of Hiroshima presented to Manchester to be grown into trees as symbols of peace.

Meeting with Mines Advisory Group (MAG)

Mines Advisory Group works for peace, clears landmines, supports development and delivers education in conflict-affected areas. Mayor Matsui met with Nick Roseveare, the Chief Executive of MAG, and discussed future collaboration between Mayors for Peace and MAG.

November 16 (Monday)
Meeting with British Parliamentarians, etc.

Mr. Matsui traveled to London and attended a Parliamentary reception at the House of Lords, where he conveyed the message of Hiroshima—the wish for a peaceful world free from nuclear weapons—to approximately 50 guests including British Parliamentarians, member mayors of Mayors for Peace and representatives from NGOs.

Meeting with Deputy Mayor of London

Mr. Matsui visited London City Hall to meet with Sir Edward Lister, London’s Chief of Staff and Deputy Mayor for Policy and Planning. Mayor Matsui briefed Sir Lister on Mayors for Peace activities and conveyed his hope to hold many discussions and work together to create a peaceful future that does not rely on nuclear deterrence.

November 17 (Tuesday)
Meeting with the District Mayor of Vienna’s 16th District of Ottakring

Mayor Matsui visited Vienna and met with Mr. Franz Prokop, the District Mayor of Vienna’s 16th District of Ottakring. Mayor Matsui was warmly welcomed by Mayor Prokop and local citizen groups in front of a peace monument.

Meeting with the Minister of Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs of Austria

Mayor Matsui visited Mr. Sebastian Kurz, the Minister of Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs of Austria. Mayor Matsui thanked Minister Kurz for Austria’s initiative in leading the movement toward banning nuclear weapons including its presentation of the Humanitarian Pledge. Minister Kurz confirmed his continued commitment to the realization of a nuclear weapons free world.

Attendance of the opening of an A-bomb exhibition at the United Nations Office at Vienna

In his speech at the ceremony, Mayor Matsui expressed his sincere hope that the exhibition would help leaders of governments and international organizations to once again recognize that nuclear weapons are an absolute evil which threaten the existence of humankind, and to make the utmost effort towards their total elimination from our world. The event was attended by more than 100 guests and people from the mass media, which demonstrated a high level of interest in the exhibition.

Meeting with the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO)

Mayor Matsui had meetings with Dr. Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of the CTBTO. Mayor Matsui thanked Dr. Zerbo for his cooperation in realizing the A-bomb exhibit at the United Nations Office at Vienna and asked for his continued support for Mayors for Peace.

Meeting with the Permanent Representative of Japan to the UN in Vienna

Mayor Matsui thanked Ambassador Mitsuru Kitano, Permanent Representative of Japan to the UN in Vienna, for his cooperation in realizing the A-bomb exhibit at the United Nations Office at Vienna. They also discussed the current global state of nuclear disarmament including the approved resolution by the UN General Assembly First Committee on the establishment of an Open-Ended Working Group.