On the first August sixth of the new century, we, the citizens of Hiroshima, living witnesses to "the century of war," hereby declare that we will do everything in our power to make the twenty-first century one of peace and humanity, free from nuclear weapons.

We believe that humanity means our willingness to listen to the voices of all sentient beings. Humanity also means nurturing children with loving care. It means valuing reconciliation in creating the human family's common future. It means rejecting violence and reaching peaceful agreements through the power of reason and conscience. Only humanity can assure the abolition of nuclear weapons; only humanity can ensure that nuclear weapons, once eliminated, are never re-invented.

In the twenty-first century, Hiroshima intends to soar to new heights as a city of humanity. We intend to create a spiritual home for all people, a home with compassion, a source of creativity and energy for our planet's children and youth, a city offering a personal place of rest and comfort for all, young or old, male and female.

However, the calendar end to "the century of war" has not automatically ushered in a century of peace and humanity. Our world is still darkened not only by the direct violence of local conflicts and civil wars, but also by innumerable other forms of violence including environmental destruction, violence-promoting publications, images, and games. Now, through advanced science and technology, some are trying to extend battlefields into space.

We need our world leaders first to look at this reality humbly and unflinchingly. They must also possess a strong will to eliminate nuclear weapons, sincerity in abiding by their agreements, which are crystallizations of human wisdom, and finally, the courage required to make reconciliation and humanity top priorities.

Many hibakusha and their kindred spirits, feeling called upon to shoulder the fate of the entire human race, have sought the abolition of nuclear weapons and world peace with a will strong enough to cut through solid rock. For hibakusha, the living hell suffered fifty-six years ago remains vivid and present even today. Thus, communicating in living form to coming generations the hibakusha's memories, their sense of responsibility, and their unrelenting will is the most dependable first step toward survival through the twenty-first century and on to the twenty-second century, connected by a bridge of hope.

To that end, the City of Hiroshima is investing in the revitalization of peace education, in the broadest sense of that term. We are striving, in particular, to establish Hiroshima-Nagasaki peace study courses in major universities around the world. The basic framework for such courses will be constructed from the accomplishments of the Hiroshima Peace Institute and similar institutions where academic endeavour based on unalterable fact have brought humankind closer to truth.

This week, the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are hosting the World Conference of Mayors for Peace through Inter-city Solidarity. The conference has been organized for the expressed purpose of abolishing nuclear weapons and realizing world peace through truth-guided solidarity among cities, the entities that will carry most prominently the torch of humanity in the twenty-first century. It is no mere fantasy to believe that in the future, member cities of this conference will lead other municipalities in expanding the circle of nuclear-free authorities until ultimately the entire Earth becomes one solid nuclear free zone.

Hiroshima calls on the national government of Japan to play an active role as a mediator in Asia in creating nuclear-free zones and implementing confidence-building measures. We further expect that, as a matter of national policy, Japan will initiate an effort to conclude a global treaty that prohibits nuclear weapons forever. We demand that our government properly value the contributions made by hibakusha, wherever they may live, which should culminate in improved relief measures that respect their rights. Finally, we demand that our national government forge the will to abolish nuclear weapons and, in accordance with the preamble of our constitution, work with Hiroshima in the effort to create a century of peace and humanity.

On this first August sixth of the twenty-first century, it is by vowing to spread the peace of this moment through the entire twenty-first century and throughout the world that we pay our sincerest respects to the souls of all the atomic bomb victims.

August 6, 2001

Tadatoshi Akiba
The City of Hiroshima

Copyright(C)2001 The City of HIROSHIMA. All rights reserved.