Hiroshima mayor calls nuclear weapons “absolute evil” at NPT PrepCom

by Michiko Tanaka, Staff Writer

New York — The third session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), now taking place at United Nations Headquarters in New York, held an NGO session on April 29. Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, who serves as president of Mayors for Peace, and Reiko Yamada, 80, a resident of Tokyo and a survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, as well as an executive board member of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-bomb Sufferers Organizations, conveyed the horrific destruction of the atomic bombing to the participants and appealed to the member states to make every effort to bring about the earliest possible conclusion of a nuclear weapons convention.

Showing scientific data on the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Mr. Matsui emphasized the inhumane consequences of the bomb, saying, “At 100 meters from the hypocenter, for example, people were exposed to radiation more than 60 times higher than a lethal dose.” He continued, “The survivors are calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons, which are an absolute evil, hoping that political leaders will never use nuclear weapons again. But we are still threatened by these weapons.” He then expressed his determination to promote the early realization of a nuclear weapons convention.

The mayor also said, referring to U.S. President Barack Obama, who has indicated a willingness to visit the A-bombed city, “I would like him to see the reality of the atomic bombing and make concrete steps forward for the abolition of nuclear arms.”

Ms. Yamada recounted her experience of the Hiroshima A-bombing, which she encountered in Koimachi (part of present-day Nishi Ward) at the age of 11. She said, “The survivors of the atomic bombings truly hope to see nuclear weapons banned and abolished while we are still alive.”

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue also spoke as vice president of Mayors for Peace. He criticized the nuclear powers and the nations under the U.S. nuclear umbrella for proposing a step-by-step path to nuclear abolition and rebuffing a comprehensive approach that would bring about a nuclear weapons convention. He said, “It is imperative that we craft and implement a clear road map which shows a specific time frame for achieving nuclear abolition.”

At the NGO session, which was an official event of the PrepCom, representatives of the NPT member states listened attentively to their speeches.

(Originally published on May 1, 2014)