Hiroshima vows central role in anti-nuke push

JIJI

Hiroshima Prefecture is aiming to promote efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons by becoming a hub for international peace, Gov. Hidehiko Yuzaki said.

“Destruction by nuclear weapons does not stop at physical damage, such as death and structural damage, but literally wipes out the entire histories of communities to which people belonged, as well as the memories of the families that lived there,” he said Wednesday.

Yuzaki made the comments during the opening speech for a panel discussion at U.N. headquarters in New York on the sidelines of a meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference.

The panel meeting, hosted by the prefecture, was titled “Civil Society Activities Toward the 2015 NPT Review Conference: Putting Hiroshima’s Experience into Action for the Future.” The panelists included Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui and Angela Kane, U.N. high representative for disarmament affairs.

Matsui repeated his call for abolishing nuclear weapons by 2020 as more hibakusha enter their elderly years.

The United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, and another on the city of Nagasaki three days later. The war ended soon after.

It was first time a Hiroshima governor has taken part in an NPT preparatory committee meeting.

“By joining forces with the city of Hiroshima, we were able to attract a lot of attention” Yuzaki told reporters after the discussion. The event was also attended by Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue.

Walter Fuellemann, permanent representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross to the United Nations, said at the event that the focus of the nuclear weapons debate is shifting from military doctrines and security issues to inhumane aspects, public health and environmental issues. This shift is expected to help promote nuclear disarmament, he said.