Mayors for Peace now has 6,000 member cities

by Kohei Okata, Staff Writer

On April 1, Mayors for Peace, for which Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui serves as president, announced that the number of member cities in the organization, from 158 countries and regions, has now reached exactly 6,000. It has taken two years and seven months to reach this higher milestone since the number surpassed 5,000 in September 2011. With momentum from this growing membership, Mayors for Peace is promoting the “2020 Vision Campaign,” an emergency campaign seeking the abolition of nuclear weapons by the year 2020.

According to the group’s secretariat, located at the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation in Naka Ward, 88 cities from five nations joined on April 1. Among them, 56 cities are in Iran, the largest number of new members from one country. These cities reportedly responded to a request for membership made by the Tehran Peace Museum.

From Japan, 29 municipalities, including the town of Wake in Okayama Prefecture, have also become new members. With these additional cities, about 80 percent of all municipalities in Japan are now members of Mayors for Peace.

Mayors for Peace was founded in 1982 as the World Conference of Mayors for Peace through Inter-City Solidarity, then changed its name to Mayors for Peace in 2001. In 2003, it launched the 2020 Vision Campaign, calling for a nuclear weapons convention and other concrete actions. Since then, its membership has rapidly increased. In 2013, the Japanese name of the organization was changed to “Heiwa Shucho Kaigi” to include the heads of all municipalities. The Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation says that by promoting joint efforts among cities, Mayors for Peace seeks to build stronger momentum to abolish nuclear weapons.

(Originally published on April 2, 2014)