The
Nuclear-Free Future
Award

in the Category


SOLUTIONS

is presented to

TADATOSHI AKIBA and
MAYORS FOR PEACE

Hiroshima, JAPAN

Salzburg, Austria
18 October 2007

Tadatoshi Akiba / Mayors for Peace

Routinely, lists – especially long lists – are boring. From time to time, though, they can be exciting – even empowering. The list of activities undertaken by the Mayors for Peace from mid-1982 to mid-2007 are of this second, rarer order. Our eyes skim down a chronology listing no less than ninety major events – actions and happenings ranging from diverse memorial gatherings commemorating the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to protests against French, Russian and US military nuclear tests, to numerous abolition entreaties submitted to the United Nations in both New York and Geneva, as well as a war crimes challenge lodged before the Internation Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands.

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In November of 2003 Mayors for Peace launched its current cardinal project: the 2020 Vision Campaign, an emergency crusade to rid the world of the last ounce of weapons grade fissile material by the year 2020. The Mayors for Peace wages its campaign using a wide armory of weapons: appeals, declarations, petitions, visual graphics, exhibitions, and scientific appraisals and studies. In 2005, the Mayors for Peace sent the largest delegation to participate at the 2005 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference: over one hundred cities from around the globe were represented.

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“Cities ARE, in fact, targets of nuclear weapons and, according to the International Court of Justice, even this threat is a war crime.”

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Why should mayors join hands across borders to wrench the world back from the threat of nuclear obliteration? “People rarely suffer alone,” Hiroshima mayor Dr. Tadatoshi Akiba tells us. “The suffering of any individual is actually the suffering of at least a family, if not a neigh borhood or a wider com munity, and a city is a vital, true and personally relevant level of collective identity. That is why we speak of Auschwitz, the My Lai massacre, the Dresden bombing, for example, when we refer to these sufferings. And this is why cities that suffer massive destruction become cities that work for peace. Suffering becomes an integral part of the collective memory, and peace is the natural answer to the question, how can we keep this from happening again?”

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The Mayors for Peace has recently enlarged its 2020 Vision Campaign with the Urban Centers Are Not Targets or UCANT project. In his Message of Hibakusha (hibakusha is a Japanese word that translates literally to “explosion-affected people”, and refers to the survivors of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki) delivered in Rome on 17 November 2006, Dr. Aikba remarked: “In the course of this project, we will be helping cities to mutiny against the idea that nations can hold them hostage. We are demanding positive assurance from all nuclear weapon states that no city is targeted for nuclear obliteration. In doing so, we are reminding mayors, citizens, and decision-makers at the national level that cities ARE, in fact, targets of nuclear weapons and, according to the International Court of Justice, even this threat is a war crime”.

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–Claus-Peter Lieckfeld
English version: Craig Reishus