Mayors for Peace discusses new guidelines for elimination of nuclear weapons, promotion of peace culture

by Kana Kobayashi, Staff Writer

The executive conference of Mayors for Peace, a solidarity organization composed of about 8,000 member cities around the world that aims at elimination of nuclear weapons and creation of lasting world peace, was held online at night in Japan on July 7. Along with the other members, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, who serves as the group’s president, and Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue, one of the group’s vice presidents, participated in the conference. Discussions involved new guidelines and an action plan to replace the organization’s “2020 Vision,” a plan that aimed at the total elimination of nuclear weapons by 2020.

About 60 people participated in the executive conference, including the mayors of the two A-bombed cities and representatives of 18 executive cities in 16 nations (of a total of 27 such cities in 25 countries). Mr. Matsui participated online from the International Conference Center Hiroshima, located in the city’s Naka Ward, and was linked to the participants from other cities by video-conferencing for the event, which was a closed-door meeting, except for the opening segment.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Matsui said, “The nuclear nations and their allies have clung to the theory of nuclear deterrence. Policymakers must be urged to change course, based on the idea that the elimination of nuclear weapons is the consensus of civil society. It is important to increase the number of member cities and strengthen our organization.”

In November 2019, Mr. Matsui announced the policy that no specific target year for the elimination of nuclear weapons would be indicated in the organization’s new vision plan. In the same month that year, when the group’s executive conference was convened in Germany, it was agreed that the new vision would maintain the existing objectives of realizing a world free of nuclear weapons and creating safe and resilient cities, while adding the objective of promoting a culture of peace designed to achieve the first two goals.

The new vision, to be unveiled by Mr. Matsui on July 13, is expected to incorporate such details.

Initially, the Mayors for Peace organization was scheduled to hold a general conference and establish the new vision in August 2020, but the conference was postponed twice due to the worsening coronavirus pandemic. With expiration of the 2020 Vision at the end of 2020, it became necessary to develop a new vision in timely fashion, which prompted the group to hold the executive conference online with the executive city representatives and come to a determination on the new vision.

Mayors for Peace announced its 2020 Vision in 2003. Of the objectives set in the vision, the total elimination of all nuclear weapons by the year 2020 was not achieved, but conclusion of a nuclear weapons protocol was accomplished in January this year, when the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons came into effect.


Mayors for Peace
An organization of cities acting in solidarity to achieve the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons. As of July 1, this year, the group had a membership of 8,037 cities representing 165 nations and regions. The mayor of Hiroshima acts as the organization president. Mayors of 14 cities from around the world, including the mayor of Nagasaki, serve as vice presidents. Initially, based on a proposal by then Hiroshima Mayor Takeshi Araki and the Nagasaki mayor in a joint appeal made to the 2nd United Nations Special Session on Disarmament in 1982, the group’s predecessor organization was established as “The World Conference of Mayors for Peace through Inter-city Solidarity.”

(Originally published on July 8, 2021)