Hiroshima mayor to meet with U.N. secretary-general for first time on April 28 in New York

by Michiko Tanaka, Staff Writer

On April 23, the City of Hiroshima announced that Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, who will visit New York City to take part in the third session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, will meet with Ban Ki-moon, secretary-general of the United Nations, on April 28. Mr. Matsui will make a personal appeal for promoting the start of negotiations and the fulfillment of a nuclear weapons convention at the earliest possible date in order to realize a world without nuclear arms.

This will be the first meeting between Mr. Matsui and Mr. Ban. They will meet at U.N. Headquarters on the evening of April 28 (the morning of April 29 in Japan), the first day of the PrepCom, and Mr. Matsui will submit a letter calling for a nuclear weapons convention as well as signatures for nuclear abolition that have been gathered by Mayors for Peace.

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue and Honoka Imai, 17, a third-year student at Hiroshima Jogakuin High School who will be dispatched by the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation, will also attend the meeting with Mr. Ban.

In his five-point initiative announced in October 2008, Mr. Ban stressed the possibility of pursuing negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention which would clearly outlaw nuclear arms. In August 2010, he attended the annual Peace Memorial Ceremony in Hiroshima for the first time in his capacity as secretary-general of the United Nations. Mr. Ban also supports the abolition of nuclear weapons by 2020, the goal of Mayors for Peace.

The Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation said that it will convey the thoughts of A-bomb survivors so that Mr. Ban can use his leverage as the head of the United Nations and urge U.N. members to swiftly conclude a nuclear weapons convention.

Mr. Matsui’s trip to the United States will last seven days, from April 26 to May 2. On April 29, he will deliver a speech as president of Mayors for Peace at a PrepCom session for non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The Hiroshima mayor will appeal to the delegations from the member nations, telling them that the abolition of nuclear weapons is an urgent matter.

(Originally published on April 24, 2014)