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Cities should increase role in effort to abolish nuclear weapons

Mayors for Peace comprises 8,213 cities from 166 countries and regions, including the United States, Russia and other nuclear weapon states., October 24, 2022 

Foreign representatives to the general conference of Mayors for Peace pose for a photograph in Hiroshima on Oct. 20. (The Asahi Shimbun)

While disarmament by nuclear weapon states progresses only at a snail’s pace, Russia has invaded Ukraine and has repeatedly threatened to use nuclear weapons.

The developments have brought home a reality where nuclear arms could be used again in the manner of what was done to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In light of the situation, we are left to ask what role could be played by local governments, which are closer to citizens than central governments, in striving for the goal of abolishing nuclear weapons.

Mayors for Peace held its 10th General Conference in Hiroshima on Oct. 19-20.

The international nongovernmental organization was founded 40 years ago in the midst of the Cold War in response to a proposal made by Hiroshima’s mayor at a U.N. meeting.

The Hiroshima Appeal, adopted at the meeting last week, expressed alarm at the risk of nuclear war, which it said has been raised to “the highest level,” and emphasized that “the only absolute viable measure for humanity to take against repeated threats of nuclear weapons is their total elimination.”

The document called on nuclear weapon states to fulfill their disarmament obligations spelled out in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which took effect at the initiative of countries with no nuclear arsenals, in lockstep.

Mayors for Peace comprises 8,213 cities from 166 countries and regions, including the United States, Russia and other nuclear weapon states.

While nuclear weapon states and their allies continue to adhere to the nuclear deterrence theory, the organization has called on local governments to unite across national borders and return to the basic principle that nuclear arms should be abolished. It has played a significant role.

A number of cities, particularly in Europe, have moved to join Mayors for Peace since Russia invaded Ukraine.

In a resolution last year, the U.S. Conference of Mayors called on the U.S. government to welcome the TPNW and take immediate action toward nuclear abolition. Cities that are members of Mayors for Peace played a major part in that process.

Mayors for Peace should expand its activities by capitalizing on the current trend of the growing presence of local governments.

The essential thing is to work hand in hand with civil society in sending out messages.

Mayors for Peace has been supported by pleas from survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that the error should never be repeated.

During the meeting in Hiroshima, cases of efforts being made in Japan and abroad were presented. They include how a group of 26 cities in western Tokyo have been working together to archive people’s accounts of their war experiences and to provide peace education.

We hope more local governments will draw on their networks to share and expand their diverse attempts.

Japan, as the only nation that has suffered atomic bombings in war, has a major role to play.

Of all municipalities in the nation and Tokyo’s wards, more than 99 percent, or 1,737, are members of Mayors for Peace.

At a general meeting of Japanese member cities held on the sidelines of the 10th general conference, a written request was approved calling on the government to participate as an observer in the second meeting of the state parties to the TPNW, which is scheduled for next year, and sign and ratify the treaty.

Hiroshima is expected to host the first meeting of a new international group of eminent persons to discuss nuclear disarmament by year-end and a Group of Seven summit next spring.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who will be presiding over both meetings, should take the appeal of Mayors for Peace seriously and discard his stance of continuing to turn his back on the TPNW as soon as possible.

October 24, 2022 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, Reference, weapons and war

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