Concert calling for nuclear abolition to be held in France by musicians from Hiroshima, five nuclear weapon states

by Kohei Okata, Staff Writer

On March 11, about 80 musicians will stage a “Peace Concert” at the headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, France. The day will mark the third anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the nuclear accident at the Fukushima No. 1 (Daiichi) nuclear power plant. Among the musicians are those from Hiroshima and five nations that possess nuclear weapons. Through music, the artists will call for the elimination of nuclear arms and appeal for peace in the world. Details of the concert were made public by the organizer during a press conference held at Hiroshima City Hall on February 12.

One of the musicians is Yuya Nishimoto, 11, a fifth grader and a resident of Saeki Ward, Hiroshima. He is a gold-prize winner at the International Chopin Piano Competition in Asia and he will join musicians and singers from South Korea and five nuclear weapon states—the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China—in playing 23 pieces of classical music and other genres.

The concert has been organized by Yasuko Mitsui, a harpsichord player from the city of Hatsukaichi in Hiroshima Prefecture. Forming “Ensemble pour la paix,” an international group of musicians, she held a concert in New York in May 2010 for the success of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, which was in session there at the time. She also staged concerts in Vienna, Austria in September 2012 and in Hiroshima in April 2013.

The concert scheduled at UNESCO headquarters is co-sponsored by an executive committee, chaired by Yoshihiro Ando, made up of members of international exchange groups in Hiroshima. They will encourage representatives of nations posted at UNESCO to attend the concert. During the press conference, Ms. Mitsui said, “I hope to convey the message that we must leave our children a world without nuclear weapons.”

(Originally published on February 13, 2014)