TOKYO -- A general assembly of Mayors for Peace's domestic member cities was held here on Oct. 24, with leaders and senior officials of 72 municipalities across Japan in attendance.
Mayors for Peace is an international nongovernmental organization seeking a world without nuclear weapons through close collaboration among its member cities. The meeting, held in the Tokyo suburban city of Kunitachi, was the ninth of its kind and the first to be held in the capital.
In an opening speech, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, who serves as president of Mayors for Peace, pointed out that "home country-first" principles are casting a shadow over the world. "We would like to consider through this meeting how we can foster a 'culture of peace' and act on this cause as basic municipalities tasked with protecting the safety of citizens," he said.
Kunitachi Mayor Kazuo Nagami stated, "We adopted a peace city declaration in 2000. We'd like to have in-depth discussions on the missions of mayors for peacebuilding."
During the conference, the city of Kunitachi introduced its efforts to pass down the memories of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Tokyo Air Raids in the final days of World War II by training some 30 people from the postwar generation as storytellers.
According to the website of the Mayors for Peace's secretariat and other sources, the NGO currently has 1,732 member municipalities in Japan, which account for more than 99% of all municipalities across the nation.
The meeting is set to adopt a statement on Oct. 25 calling for the Japanese government to boost efforts toward nuclear weapons abolition.
(Japanese original by Masamitsu Kurokawa, Tama General Bureau)