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Mayors for Peace

 November 8, 2016

 

70% of mayors at peace meeting back U.N. resolution on nuke abolition talks

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161108/p2a/00m/0na/016000c

 

Nearly 70 percent of the municipal heads at a domestic general meeting of the nongovernmental organization Mayors for Peace who responded to a Mainichi Shimbun survey said they support a United Nations resolution calling for the start of talks next year to outlaw nuclear weapons.

The U.N. resolution, introduced jointly by Austria, Mexico and several other countries, was approved on Oct. 27 at the First Committee of the U.N. General Assembly, with 123 nations voting for it and 38 against. Japan opposed the measure along with the United States, drawing criticism from peace groups and other parties.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga expressed the government's view that the resolution would deepen the divide between nuclear and non-nuclear states, which would make achievement of a world without nuclear weapons a remote prospect.

Akira Kawasaki, an international steering committee member of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, said that by opposing the resolution, Japan was "going from being an A-bombed country to an ally of nuclear states."

The Mainichi Shimbun poll was conducted in line with the Japanese Member Cities' Meeting of Mayors for Peace in the Chiba Prefecture city of Sakura on Nov. 7 and 8. The Mainichi asked 52 mayors who had given advance notice of their attendance whether or not they supported the U.N. resolution, and why. A total of 32 of the 46 mayors who responded said they supported the resolution.

About half of those in favor said they supported the resolution because Japan is the only country to have been attacked with atomic bombs and therefore has its own role to play.

Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, president of Mayors for Peace, stated, "In order to steadily advance moves to eliminate nuclear weapons, full implementation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is indispensable, along with the conclusion by all countries of a treaty banning nuclear weapons."

Nobuhiro Takahashi, mayor of the Fukushima Prefecture town of Koori, commented, "Fukushima Prefecture is still suffering from radioactive contamination from the nuclear disaster. The use of nuclear materials, which humans cannot control, should be halted immediately."

Two mayors said they opposed the resolution on the grounds that they supported the Japanese government. Twelve did not say whether they opposed or supported the measure.

A representative of the general affairs division of the Shizuoka Prefecture city of Iwata, whose mayor Osamu Watanabe expressed opposition, said that considering the situation in North Korea and other factors, it would cause confusion to ban nuclear weapons immediately. As such, the representative said, it couldn't be helped for the Japanese government to call for proceeding with elimination in stages. The representative said it was an extremely difficult issue.

Sakura Mayor Kazuo Warabi did not say whether he supported or opposed the resolution. He said he took the view that the Japanese government made its decision based on the international situation and the nation's security, then added, "I would like the central government to explain to the public the reasons for its opposition and what future efforts it will make toward the elimination of nuclear weapons."

 

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