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Speech at the Public Discussion at Geneva Centre for Security Policy in Geneva, Switzerland (November 11, 2011)

 

Thoughts Regarding the United Nations Office at Geneva Permanent Exhibition

Conveying the A-bomb experiences of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I am Matsui Kazumi, Mayor of the City of Hiroshima. I would like to start by expressing my sincere gratitude for the chance to make this address on behalf of the A-bombed City of Hiroshima.

66 years ago, on August 6, 1945, Hiroshima was reduced to ashes by the first atomic bombing in human history. By the end of the year, the precious lives of approximately 140,000 innocent citizens had been lost. It is impossible to fully express in words the mental and physical suffering of the atomic bomb survivors, as well as the rest of Hiroshima’s citizens, who have lost their dear family, friends, and their familiar hometown.

However, Hiroshima’s citizens, withstanding great pain and tremendous efforts to live through each day, and holding the thoughts of their lost loved ones in mind, miraculously resurrected a land so damaged that it was said no plants would grow there for 75 years. This remarkable accomplishment was not only thanks to the survivors’ efforts, but also due to the heartfelt support of many people from within and outside Japan.

Hiroshima’s revival from destruction and overcoming despair is a historical reality that was accomplished through the A-bomb survivors’ fervent desire to abolish nuclear weapons and build a peaceful world, and with the sincere support and action from the many people around the world sharing this wish. This reality is one that I hold highly important.

As such, I wish for Hiroshima to keep serving as a platform to reconfirm the reality of the atomic bombings, so that as many people as possible worldwide can continue to sympathize with the A-bomb survivors’ wishes for nuclear abolition and lasting world peace, and work together in promoting initiatives towards their realization.

Mayors for Peace, which I preside over, is currently composed of over 5,000 cities worldwide working together towards nuclear weapons abolition. In cooperation with NGOs and citizens from around the world, the organization is actively promoting the 2020 Vision Campaign, which aims for nuclear abolition by 2020.

Furthermore, I would like to strive to have the NPT Review Conference held in Hiroshima, allowing heads of state from nuclear powers, as well as many other nations, to gather and discuss nuclear abolition. In order for Hiroshima to keep acting as a platform to reconfirm the reality of the atomic bombing, I believe it is necessary to convey directly from Hiroshima the thoughts of the atomic bomb survivors, such as “the atomic bombing must never be repeated” and “no one else should ever have to suffer like this.” In order for these messages, and the reality of the atomic bombing, to reach as many people as possible, the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will continue to hold A-bomb exhibitions in many locations worldwide.

A permanent exhibition about the atomic bombings and disarmament has just been opened here in the United Nations Office at Geneva, following from the one in the United Nations Headquarters in New York. I believe this fact is extremely significant, serving not only as a milestone in Hiroshima’s efforts towards lasting world peace up until now, but also as a starting point for further development in the future. This is a place which draws highly influential officials and policymakers from international organizations and governments that play an important role in realizing a peaceful world without nuclear weapons. We wish that this exhibition will help everyone to understand that nuclear weapons are an absolute evil that threaten the existence of humankind, and encourage everyone to commit every effort to aid in their elimination from this world. We would also be highly grateful if this exhibition may encourage people to seriously think about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and to visit these cities to confirm the reality for themselves.

These are the thoughts the City of Hiroshima holds regarding this exhibition. I wish that everyone here today may take in these thoughts and seriously consider them. Above all, it is my sincere wish that this speech may allow you to share our sentiments, and inspire you to unite efforts with Mayors for Peace in striving towards the goal of abolishing nuclear weapons by 2020.

Thank you very much for your attention.

Speech at the Public Discussion: "Nuclear Disarmament, Security, and Safety: Remembering Japan and Global Challenges Ahead"
Friday, November 11, 2011
Geneva Centre for Security Policy
Geneva, Switzerland

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