A Mayors for Peace delegation, including President MATSUI Kazumi (mayor of Hiroshima), Vice President TAUE Tomihisa (mayor of Nagasaki), and Secretary General KOIZUMI Takashi, attended the first Meeting of States Parties (1MSP) to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and the 2022 Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons (HINW22Vienna) held in Vienna, Austria. During their stay in Vienna, they expressed their grave concern about the devastating humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons and emphasized the need for advancing nuclear disarmament toward the total elimination of nuclear weapons to the representatives of national governments and the UN.
Mayors for Peace also hosted a joint side event of the 1MSP with ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons), as well as the Atomic Bomb Poster Exhibition at the venue of the 1MSP, both aimed at building momentum for achieving a peaceful world free of nuclear weapons.
At the very first Meeting of States Parties to the TPNW, the “Vienna Declaration,” which outlines measures to accomplish the goals of this treaty, and the “Vienna Action Plan,” which stipulates concrete procedures and key actions, were adopted. It is notable that in these documents, the compatibility and complementarity of the TPNW with the existing nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime, including the NPT (Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons), were reiterated and emphasized.
Travel Period for President Matsui: June 18 (Sat.) – June 26 (Sun.), 2022
Monday, June 20
Following the remarks by the representatives of the Austrian government (the host) and the UN, at the “Testimonials of Survivors of Nuclear Weapons Use and Testing” session, the survivors and their descendants addressed the lifelong anxiety and suffering caused by the use and testing of nuclear weapons.
Meeting with Deputy Director General of the Department of International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Thailand
President Matsui expressed his gratitude for Thailand’s endorsement of the Atomic Bomb Poster Exhibition to Deputy Director Ek-on Khunacharoen, and requested continued support for Mayors for Peace activities aimed at winning additional states parties to the TPNW.
Meeting with Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Preparatory Commission
Executive Secretary Robert Floyd stated that although the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) has not yet entered into force, with the ratification of 172 states, since the treaty opened for signature in 1996, the number of nuclear tests -more than 2,000 of which had previously been conducted- has dramatically decreased, bringing peace and security assurance to all countries.
President Matsui said that as the CTBT set a great example, expanding the TPNW’s membership will secure its effective implementation, and that together with its member cities, Mayors for Peace will enhance its effort in outreaching the devastating humanitarian consequences to be inflicted by the use of nuclear weapons.
Tuesday, June 21
Meeting and delivering petition to UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs
Under-Secretary-General Izumi Nakamitsu mentioned that the number of the attendees of the 1MSP, including the observers, is more than double the expected, and that the UN will continue its efforts to achieve the elimination of nuclear weapons, making use of such driving forces. President Matsui responded that Mayors for Peace will further promote the TPNW aimed at winning additional states parties to the treaty, leading to motivating the nuclear-armed states for nuclear disarmament. President Matsui then presented Ms. Nakamitsu with a certificate of approximately 290,000 signatures which call for all states to join the TPNW at the earliest date.
Mayors for Peace & ICAN Joint Side Event
Mayors for Peace and ICAN held a joint side event of the 1MSP titled: Voices of Civil Society for a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World, with more than 100 audience.
After President Matsui gave opening remarks, the hibakusha, survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings, conveyed their messages. Mr. Yoshiaki Fukahori, Chairperson of Nagasaki City Council, appealed to “make Nagasaki the last atomic bombing site,” and Mr. Masashi Ieshima, Executive Board Member of Nihon Hidankyo (Japan Confederation of A-and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations), addressed the harm caused by the radiation from the use of nuclear weapons, based on his own experiences.
It was followed by the presentation giving an overview of the initiatives and activities of Mayors for Peace by Councillor Edward Newman of Manchester City (an Executive City of Mayors for Peace).
Presentation on peace initiatives by youths followed. Ms. Maja Thompson representing ICAN Norway and Ms. Suzuka Nakamura representing KNOW NUKES TOKYO delivered their presentations respectively, sharing with the audience how and why they commit to the abolition of nuclear weapons.
Meeting with Executive Director of ICAN
Executive Director Beatrice Fihn said that the voices of civil society, which was part of the title of the joint side event, can certainly motivate people to make new movements, as was the case in Norway where the voices of the general public led their government to participate in the 1MSP as an observer. She then invited President Matsui to explore further collaboration of ICAN and Mayors for Peace.
Speeches at the General Debate of the 1MSP of the TPNW
In his speech during the General Debate session on the first day of the 1MSP, President Matsui urged all in attendance—representatives of national governments, the UN, and civil society—to collaborate urgently for the effective implementation of the treaty, and appealed that it is imperative to have the nuclear-armed states deepen their understanding of the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons and the uncertainty of nuclear arsenal management by winning additional states parties to the treaty, especially non-nuclear weapon states. He also introduced the initiatives of Mayors for Peace and the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, expressed his hope for the G7 Leaders’ Summit which will be held in Hiroshima next year, and called for the fulfillment of the ambitious goals of the treaty, including the improvement and enrichment of victim assistance provision.
Executive Cities’ Meeting for Exchange of Views and European Chapter Meeting
Delegation members from 11 cities, including Hiroshima, Nagasaki and European Executive Cities, gathered for a meeting to discuss and exchange views on their own city’s activities, the current international situation, and the upcoming 10th General Conference in October.
Wednesday, June 22
Meeting with Head of the Arms and Conduct of Hostilities Unit at the Legal Division of the International Committee of the Red Cross
Mr. Laurent Gisel, the Head of the Arms and Conduct of Hostilities Unit at the Legal Division, said that the ICRC and Mayors for Peace share the same principle on our path to the abolition of nuclear weapons, and in order to make commitments to nuclear disarmament in a sustainable manner, the ICRC hopes to pursue the roles of the younger generations, together with Mayors for Peace.
President Matsui introduced the initiative: Children’s Art Competition “Peaceful Towns,” and asked for support to together promote a culture of peace, especially among youth.
Meeting with Member of the Australian Parliament (House of Representatives）
Answering the question from President Matsui on the reason behind the decision of Australia to participate in the 1MSP as an observer, Ms. Susan Templeman, a member of the Australian Parliament (House of Representatives), stated that Australia shares the same concern on nuclear weapons with the Parties, and the participation is to bring back the information gathered in this conference for the consideration of future correspondence.
Thursday, June 23
Meeting with Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations (Vienna)
Ambassador Luis Campuzano said that to have more and more states join the TPNW, the commitment of civil society, including Mayors for Peace, is indispensable, and Mexico aims for the ratification of all countries.
Meeting with Special Envoy for Disarmament Affairs, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Special Envoy Jørn Osmundsen expressed his view that the confirmation of the complementarity of the TPNW with the existing nuclear disarmament treaties is of importance. He said that despite the difference in positions, it is important to participate in the MSP to engage in constructive discussions.
President Matsui responded that for the realization of a world free of nuclear weapons, the NPT would be its entrance, and the TPNW would be its exit. He expressed his support for Norway’s approach, making effort to functionalize the TPNW, despite being under the nuclear umbrella.
June 21 – 23
Mayors for Peace Atomic Bomb Poster Exhibition
To have the attendees of the 1MSP deepen their understanding of the realities of the atomic bombings, Mayors for Peace hosted Atomic Bomb Poster Exhibition at the venue of the 1MSP.