Hiroshima shortly after it was destroyed by an atomic bomb on 6 August 1945.
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Mayor Akiba criticises nuclear powers on
60th anniversary of Hiroshima destruction
6 August 2005: On the 60th anniversary of Hiroshima’s destruction and the killing of some 100,000 people on 6 August 1945, the city’s Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba called 2005 as the year of succession, awakening and determination. The Mayor bitterly criticised countries like the US and North Korea for further developing nuclear arms. Mr Akiba also blamed today’s nuclear powers for the collapse of an international conference re-evaluating the Nuclear Non proliferation Treaty (NPT). “The collapse of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty review conference showed that countries with nuclear weapons are not listening to the majority of the world's citizens, who want these monstrous weapons eliminated,” the Mayor said.
By Tadatoshi Akiba, Mayor of Hiroshima
This 6 August 2005, the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing, is a moment of shared lamentation in which more than 300 thousand souls of A-bomb victims and those who remain behind transcend the boundary between life and death to remember that day. It is also a time of inheritance, of awakening, and of commitment, in which we inherit the commitment of the hibakusha to the abolition of nuclear weapons and realization of genuine world peace, awaken to our individual responsibilities, and recommit ourselves to take action. This new commitment, building on the desires of all war victims and the millions around the world who are sharing this moment, is creating a harmony that is enveloping our planet.
The keynote of this harmony is the hibakusha warning, "No one else should ever suffer as we did," along with the cornerstone of all religions and bodies of law, "Thou shalt not kill." Our sacred obligation to future generations is to establish this axiom, especially its corollary, "Thou shalt not kill children," as the highest priority for the human race across all nations and religions. The International Court of Justice advisory opinion issued nine years ago was a vital step toward fulfilling this obligation, and the Japanese Constitution, which embodies this axiom forever as the sovereign will of a nation, should be a guiding light for the world in the 21st century.
Unfortunately, the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty this past May left no doubt that the U.S., Russia, U.K., France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and a few other nations wishing to become nuclear-weapon states are ignoring the majority voices of the people and governments of the world, thereby jeopardizing human survival.
Based on the dogma "Might is right," these countries have formed their own "nuclear club," the admission requirement being possession of nuclear weapons. Through the media, they have long repeated the incantation, "Nuclear weapons protect you." With no means of rebuttal, many people worldwide have succumbed to the feeling that "There is nothing we can do." Within the United Nations, nuclear club members use their veto power to override the global majority and pursue their selfish objectives.
To break out of this situation, Mayors for Peace, with more than 1,080 member cities, is currently holding its sixth General Conference in Hiroshima, where we are revising the Emergency Campaign to Ban Nuclear Weapons launched two years ago. The primary objective is to produce an action plan that will further expand the circle of cooperation formed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the European Parliament, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and other international NGOs, organizations and individuals worldwide, and will encourage all world citizens to awaken to their own responsibilities with a sense of urgency, "as if the entire world rests on their shoulders alone," and work with new commitment to abolish nuclear weapons.
To these ends and to ensure that the will of the majority is reflected at the UN, we propose that the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, which will meet in October, establish a special committee to deliberate and plan for the achievement and maintenance of a nuclear-weapon-free world. Such a committee is needed because the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and the NPT Review Conference in New York have failed due to a "consensus rule" that gives a veto to every country.
We expect that the General Assembly will then act on the recommendations from this special committee, adopting by the year 2010 specific steps leading toward the elimination of nuclear weapons by 2020.
Meanwhile, we hereby declare the 369 days from today until August 9, 2006, a "Year of Inheritance, Awakening and Commitment." During this Year, the Mayors for Peace, working with nations, NGOs and the vast majority of the world's people, will launch a great diversity of campaigns for nuclear weapons abolition in numerous cities throughout the world.
We expect the Japanese government to respect the voice of the world's cities and work energetically in the First Committee and the General Assembly to ensure that the abolition of nuclear weapons is achieved by the will of the majority. Furthermore, we request that the Japanese government provide the warm, humanitarian support appropriate to the needs of all the aging hibakusha, including those living abroad and those exposed in areas affected by the black rain.
On this, the sixtieth anniversary of the atomic bombing, we seek to comfort the souls of all its victims by declaring that we humbly reaffirm our responsibility never to "repeat the evil."
"Please rest peacefully; for we will not repeat the evil."
Sixty years after the it was almost completely destroyed by an atomic bomb, Hiroshima is today one of the most thriving cities in Japan
Introducing Tadatoshi Akiba, Mayor of Hiroshima
For 60 years the city of Hiroshima has been warning the world about nuclear weapons, but five years ago, with the election of Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba, Hiroshima finally became a player on the international stage. Having graduated from both Tokyo University and MIT in Boston, and having lived nearly 20 years in the U.S., Akiba is a rarity among Japanese politicians: bilingual, and thoroughly cosmopolitan. Equally rare are his commitments to peace, the abolition of nuclear weapons, environmental protection, and open, transparent, democratic government.
Since becoming mayor in 1999, Akiba has been working hard to help Hiroshima live up to its image as the International Peace Culture City. He has been fighting to make Hiroshima’s rivers clean enough to swim in. He has overseen a great improvement in waste management. Today, the people of Hiroshima divide their trash into eight categories, and Hiroshima discards less waste per capita than any other city of similar size in Japan.
Mayor Akiba has devoted a great deal of energy to modernizing government and using information technology to expedite a broad range of procedures. As a result, the city of Hiroshima is among the most advanced local governments in Japan. The improved speed and efficiency are quite popular with residents, and have even earned favourable attention overseas. At the Asia-Pacific Summit in Seattle (U.S.) in 2001, the mayor of the host city commented: “Hiroshima is the city to watch when it comes to the electronic city hall.”
Mr Akiba has also been fighting to make city government more transparent and evenhanded. He has been dismantling the back-room machines that have for years been making certain types of city decisions. By implementing a fairer and more effective bidding system for public works projects and by instituting a referendum system for direct citizen participation, he has made municipal decision making more democratic. More