Photo/Illutration Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui reads the Hiroshima Appeal at the 10th General Conference of Mayors for Peace in Hiroshima on Oct. 20. (Jun Ueda)

HIROSHIMA--Mayors from across the world issued a strong appeal to take action for the immediate abolition of nuclear weapons, calling the risk of nuclear war at the highest level” following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

They issued the Hiroshima Appeal” at the conclusion of the 10th General Conference of Mayors for Peace here, which ended on Oct. 20.

The appeal calls on the United Nations and all nations to take actions to lower rising international tensions and reduce the risk of nuclear weapon use. 

It asks them to “share in the hibakusha’s earnest wish for peace and work for nuclear disarmament,” “break away from the theory of nuclear deterrence” and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

The appeal also calls on them to “visit the atomic-bombed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and promote initiatives to convey to the world the realities of atomic bombings to make the experience of the atomic bombings a shared global experience.”

It calls for supporting for the promotion of peace education for the younger generation.

About 8,200 cities across Japan and abroad are members of the Mayors for Peace international peace nongovernmental organization, which calls for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Representatives from 102 municipalities in nine countries participated in meetings at the site in Hiroshima during the two-day conference. Many more municipalities participated online. 

Anwarul Chowdhury, former U.N. undersecretary general, gave a speech at the conference.

Oslo Mayor Marianne Borgen decided to attend the conference in person since the threat of using nuclear weapons has increased, as Norway borders Russia to the north.

“I felt it is very important to come down here and have closer dialogue with my colleagues, and form a very important network,” she said.

As for the role of cities such as Oslo, Borgen said, “For us, we can offer information, education and have dialogue, and we can put pressure on the national government, which is very important for the U.N. treaty on the abolition of nuclear weapons to be in force.”

Fatiha Alaudat, deputy mayor of Malakoff, a city located near Paris, also attended in person and said that she feels participants share the desire “for peace and a nuclear-free world.”

In the general conference of Japanese member cities, the representatives adopted a request to the Japanese government to participate as an observer in the second meeting of the state parties for the TPNW, which is scheduled to be held next year. The request also asks Japan to ratify the TPNW treaty.

The Russian city of Volgograd had pre-registered for online participation in the Hiroshima conference, but Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, who is the president of Mayors for Peace, said he could not confirm the city’s participation. 

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue gave a speech to conclude the conference. 

“What we see now is quite the opposite of a world without nuclear weapons,” he said. “We are living in a time when it’s difficult to see the future, but we want to take a step forward with courage.”

Nagasaki city will host the next general conference of Mayors for Peace.

(This article was written by Rikuri Kuroda, Yuhei Kyono and Hana Matsuo.)