No mention of TPNW to be made in preamble of Hiroshima’s peace ordinance—Opinions divided in review committee

by Hajime Niiyama, Staff Writer

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) will not be mentioned in the preamble of Hiroshima City’s peace promotion ordinance, the policy-making review committee of the Hiroshima City Council decided on April 15. The preamble outlines the philosophy of the ordinance that the city government is focused on enacting. The TPNW, which entered into force in January this year, was not referenced in the draft ordinance compiled in December last year, but citizens have been calling on the council to touch on the significance of the treaty in the ordinance. During the committee meeting, however, opinions were divided, and it was thus decided that the draft would not be altered.

The committee, composed of representatives of varied political factions, worked long and hard to draw up the draft. The committee deliberated on the preamble in the City Council building on April 15, after 18 comments from the public clearly indicated that the TPNW’s going into effect should be included as an important achievement, and queried about why there was no mention of the TPNW even as the City Council supports the treaty.

Members of the committee were divided about whether or not to include mention of the treaty. Those who supported including mention of the TPNW said, “It is significant and cannot be ignored that nuclear weapons have been deemed illegal under international law,” and “The treaty was Hiroshima’s long-cherished wish, and the fact that it came into force should be mentioned.”

Others took a more cautious approach. Because the draft indicated that “the movement toward the elimination of nuclear weapons is gaining momentum globally,” some members argued that the treaty is part of a growing movement, making reference to it unnecessary, and that nuclear weapons states are opposed to the treaty, making its effectiveness questionable.

The review committee agreed last December that if opinions were divided, the draft would not be altered. With this, the committee ultimately made its decision not to mention the TPNW. “The draft was drawn up based on unanimous agreement, and revising it or deleting something from it must be supported by all members,” said Shinso Wakabayashi, chair of the committee and member of the Civil Alliance for Peace and Constitutionalism, after the meeting.

A total of 1,043 opinions were collected about the draft between January and March. Of the opinions, 459, the largest number, dealt with Article 6, Clause 2: The Peace Memorial Ceremony shall be performed in solemnity. Opinions suggested that the clause be maintained as is or that “solemnity” be deleted.

(Originally published on April 16, 2021)