Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui to review city’s plan for site of old baseball stadium

by Hiroki Takigawa, Staff Writer

Hiroshima held its mayoral election on April 10 and the votes were counted the same day, resulting in the selection of Kazumi Matsui, 58, the city's first new mayor in 12 years. On April 11 Mr. Matsui sat down for an interview with the Chugoku Shimbun. The newly-elected mayor expressed his intention to begin concrete discussion as soon as possible to review the city's plan for the utilization of the site of the former Hiroshima Municipal Baseball Stadium in downtown Hiroshima. The plan currently centers on developing a green space for the site.

Mr. Matsui indicated the direction he prefers in sharing his basic concept for the site. “With young people as key players, we will create a lively new area for the city,” he said. “I hope that the discussion will be held in line with this idea.” He added: “I don't wish to see people whiling away their time in discussion.” A review panel is believed to be forming that will consist of young people and those from the business community and shopping districts, among others.

At the same time, Mr. Matsui has stressed in interviews held to date that he will strive to make a success of the national confectionary exposition, slated to be held in the spring of 2013, employing the green space for its main venue. It is expected, then, that the utilization plan will be reviewed in a form that will not affect the opening of this exposition.

Mr. Matsui also touched on the campaign seeking the abolition of nuclear weapons by 2020, which has been promoted by Mayors for Peace, for which the mayor of Hiroshima serves as president. Mr. Matsui cast a somewhat skeptical eye at the campaign, saying, “The national government holds authority over military forces, while the municipal government must protect residents' lives. In this respect, they play different roles. Thus, U.S. President Barack Obama and the mayor of Hiroshima play different roles. The City of Hiroshima will appeal for nuclear abolition with all its might, but it is not in a position to materialize this goal.”

(Originally published on April 12, 2011)