Hiroshima mayor shares hopes for NPDI meeting and advancing nuclear weapons convention

by Michiko Tanaka, Staff Writer

At a press conference held on April 4, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui shared his hopes for the ministerial meeting of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), which will take place in Hiroshima on April 11 and 12. The NPDI is made up of 12 non-nuclear weapon states. The mayor hopes that discussions at the meeting can advance the reality of a nuclear weapons convention, if only a step or two.

Mayors for Peace, for which Mr. Matsui serves as president, is advocating a nuclear weapons convention which would ban the possession and production of nuclear arms. However, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed reluctance to discuss the issue at the NPDI ministerial meeting, saying many nations, including nuclear weapons states, would balk at such discussion at the venue.

Mr. Matsui pointed out that both the City of Hiroshima and the Japanese government share the aim of abolishing nuclear arms, but are proceeding at different speeds. He said he hopes nuclear weapons can be eliminated while the A-bomb survivors are still living, and encouraged the Japanese government to move forward in step with the City of Hiroshima.

The mayor also announced that eight ministers, including foreign ministers, from 12 countries will take part in the meeting, a record number. Rose Gottemoeller, the undersecretary for arms control and international security of the United States, a nuclear super power, will join as a guest speaker.

(Originally published on April 5, 2014)