A Mayors for Peace delegation participated in the NPT Review Conference held in New York City. The delegation consisted of representatives from seven cities including the mayors of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Frogn (Norway), as well as ten high school students from Hiroshima and Okinawa, Japan, who have been working on our petition drive to call for a start to negotiations for a nuclear weapons convention.
The mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki delivered speeches at the NGO session of the conference, and appealed to national representatives for the early realization of a nuclear weapons convention by conveying the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons.
During the conference period, Mayors for Peace hosted three events and attended various side events. The delegation also met with national representatives, handed a letter of request and a certificate of signatures demanding the immediate commencement of negotiations for a nuclear weapons convention to the UN Deputy to the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, conducted other efforts to realize the abolition of nuclear weapons and also discussed the current global state of nuclear disarmament.
Mayor Matsui, President of Mayors for Peace, visited NY from Saturday, April 25 to Sunday, May 3, 2015
April 26 (Sunday)
The Peace NGO Assembly and March
President Matsui gave a greeting at the Peace NGO Assembly held in conjunction with the 2015 NPT Review Conference. Then, Mayors for Peace representatives joined together with other participants to march down a main thoroughfare with a Mayors for Peace banner and placards, and appeal for the nuclear weapons abolition by 2020.
After the march at the Peace Festival, President Matsui handed a certificate of approximately 1,110,000 signatures demanding the immediate commencement of negotiations for a nuclear weapons convention to Ms. Angela Kane, United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, and Ms. Taous Feroukhi, President of the NPT Review Conference.
April 27 (Monday)
Observation of the opening session and general debate of the NPT Review Conference
Mayors for Peace delegations observed the opening session and general debate at the UN Headquarters.
The Hiroshima-Nagasaki Appeal Assembly
Mayors for Peace hosted the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Appeal Assembly, in which A-bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, young leaders of the future, and supporters of peace joined their voices to spread to the world the earnest wish of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to realize nuclear weapons abolition as soon as possible. At the assembly, the delegation handed a letter of request to Ms. Virginia Gamba, Deputy to the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, along with a certificate of approximately 1,110,000 signatures demanding the immediate commencement of negotiations for a nuclear weapons convention. Paper cranes folded by Jogakuin High School students in Hiroshima were also handed to Ms. Gamba. A-bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki shared their A-bomb testimonies, civil societies and youth representatives reported on their activities, and the Governor of Hiroshima Prefecture also delivered a speech. The assembly was concluded after adopting the Hiroshima Nagasaki Appeal in New York which demands that a request for world leaders to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki be included in the final document of the NPT Review Conference.
Meeting by the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (RENGO) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITCU)
The Mayors for Peace delegation participated in a meeting on the role of trade unions for a world without nuclear weapons and military alliances. President Matsui greeted about 50 participants, expressed Mayors for Peace’s respect for their daily peace activities such as petition drives, and asked for further support for the activities of Mayors for Peace.
The “Nuclear-Free World: Cries from Hiroshima and Nagasaki” Exhibit
Mayors for Peace delegation attended the opening of the 2015 exhibition at the UN Headquarters organized by the Japan Confederation of A-and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo), together with around 150 participants including A-bomb survivors, representatives from the UN and national governments. President Matsui delivered a speech and joined the ribbon-cutting. In addition to the “Nuclear-Free World” exhibit, A-bomb exposed artifacts and posters on the A-bombings provided by the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum were also displayed.
April 28 (Tuesday)
Meeting with Mr. Sebastian Kurz, Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs of Austria
The delegation met with Mr. Sebastian Kurz, Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs of Austria. They agreed that it is time to start negotiations to ban nuclear weapons based on article six of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), as international attention to the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons continues to increase.
Meeting with Ms. Taous Feroukhi, President of the NPT Review Conference
President Matsui handed President Feroukhi the Hiroshima Nagasaki Appeal in New York and reiterated the importance of starting good-faith negotiations toward the conclusion of a nuclear weapons convention. President Feroukhi recalled her recent visit to Hiroshima on April 3rd, 2015, and expressed her determination to fulfil her responsibilities as the President of this conference.
The 2015 Municipal Workers Forum for a Nuclear-Free World
The Mayors for Peace delegation attended the forum hosted by the All-Japan Prefectural and Municipal Workers Union (JICHIRO) and delivered a greeting which expressed their respect for JICHIRO’s peace activities and introduced the activities of Mayors for Peace.
April 29 (Wednesday)
The Mayors for Peace Assembly in New York
Mayors for Peace organized the Mayors for Peace Assembly in New York. 70 participants, including representatives from Mayors for Peace Lead Cities and Member Cities, Peace NGOs, the UN and national governments, attended the assembly.
The assembly began with a greeting from the President of Mayors for Peace, followed by a speech by Ms. Angela Kane, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs. Mayors for Peace Lead City certificates were presented to the representatives of three cities: Bangkok (Thailand), Fongo-Tongo (Cameroon), and Mexico City (Mexico). Afterward several speakers from Mayors for Peace Executive and Member Cities, such as the cities of Nagasaki (Japan) and Frogn (Norway), reported on their achievements and plans for peace activities. Following the reports was a panel discussion coordinated by Secretary General Komizo, where representatives from peace NGOs exchanged their views on the roles of civil society and concrete efforts to establish legal framework for nuclear weapons abolition after the NPT Review Conference.
Finally, the assembly adopted the Mayors for Peace New York Appeal, which expresses our determination to realize nuclear weapons abolition by 2020 and sustainable world peace.
Film Screening of “What Happened That Day?”
The UN organized this screening of a film directed by Mr. Masaaki Tanabe, filmmaker and Hiroshima A-bomb survivor. President Matsui delivered a greeting at the screening, expressed the respect of Mayors for Peace for the efforts of Mr. Tanabe and called on the UN and national representatives at the venue to visit the A-bombed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
A Side Event Organized by Hiroshima Prefecture
The Mayors for Peace delegation participated in the side event, “Nuclear Weapons: Humanitarian Aspects and Legal Framework”, organized by Hiroshima Prefecture. President Matsui spoke at a panel discussion during the event, and asked everyone gathered there to join together and do all that they can from their respective positions for the realization of a peaceful world without nuclear weapons.
April 30 (Thursday)
The 2015 Mayors for Peace Youth Forum
Mayors for Peace organized the 2015 Mayors for Peace Youth Forum. Ten high school students from Hiroshima and Okinawa who were involved with a petition drive by high school students for nuclear weapons abolition, two college students from the Nagasaki Youth delegation, two junior writers of the Chugoku Shimbun (a local newspaper company in Hiroshima), and a college student from Bangkok, Thailand, participated in the forum. A youth from Cochin, India also participated by sending a video message. Participants exchanged their reports of peace activities, wish for peace and determination to help achieve nuclear weapons abolition.
The NGO Workshop on a Northeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone
The Mayors for Peace delegation participated in the NGO workshop, “Northeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Contributes Towards Global Nuclear Zero: Pursuing a Shift of Security Policy on Nuclear Weapons”. President Matsui spoke at the workshop and expressed the support of Mayors for Peace for turning Northeast Asia into a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone as an important step toward nuclear weapons abolition. He also encouraged participants to work together to achieve their common goals.
Meeting with Mr. Adam M. Scheinman, Special Representative of the U.S. President for Nuclear Nonproliferation
The Mayors for Peace delegation met with Special Representative Scheinman, one of the key persons in the fields of security, non-proliferation and arms control in the U.S. The delegates requested his support in realizing a visit from President Obama to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as facilitating discussions about a nuclear weapon convention or other equivalent legal framework. Special Representative Scheinman confirmed that he was aware of the request from Hiroshima for President Obama to visit Hiroshima. He also expressed his view on a nuclear weapons convention.
The Hiroshima Peace Concert for the Future
The City of Hiroshima co-organized this concert with the Hiroshima Traditional Japanese Music Federation on the occasion of the 70th anniversaries of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and the foundation of the UN. Uniquely Japanese melodies from the traditional koto harp performances conveyed the importance of peace to about 100 audience members, including UN and national government representatives.
May 1 (Friday)
Meeting with Ms. Cynthia Kelly, President of the Atomic Heritage Foundation
The Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as well as A-bomb survivors met with President Kelly of the Atomic Heritage Foundation, which is currently supporting Manhattan Project National Historical Park activities in the U.S. During the meeting, the mayors expressed their concerns and various opinions from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They also requested that the park include content that conveys the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons in its exhibitions. President Kelly expressed her desire to continue dialogue with the A-bombed cities and firmly concluded that she would like to appeal for the park’s true goal to be the abolition of nuclear weapons.
The NGO Session of the 2015 NPT Review Conference
President Matsui (Mayor of Hiroshima) and Vice President Taue (Mayor of Nagasaki) delivered their speeches at the NGO Session, an official program of the NPT Review Conference. In his speech, President Matsui described to national representatives how nuclear weapons are the ultimate inhumane weapon and an absolute evil. He also strongly urged political leaders to exert their influence toward achieving nuclear weapons abolition. President Matsui mentioned that Article VI of the NPT requires not only nuclear weapons states but also all its parties to pursue negotiations in good faith on nuclear disarmament and insisted that it is time to start negotiation on a nuclear weapons convention as soon as possible.