August 27, 2010
It is my great honor to send a message to the 19th IPPNW World Congress in Basel, Switzerland. I very much wish I could be with you at what I know will be a crucial event. Sixty-five years ago, the hibakusha, A-bomb survivors, experienced the inhumanity of the atomic bombings and the “end of the world.” Since then, they have asserted that, “No one else should ever suffer as we did.” The NPT Review Conference in New York this past May gave evidence of the guiding influence of that message. The Final Document expresses the unanimous intent of the parties to seek the abolition of nuclear weapons; underscores the catastrophic impact of any nuclear weapon use; notes the valuable contribution of civil society; notes that a majority favors the establishment of timelines for the nuclear weapons abolition process; and highlights the need for a nuclear weapons convention or new legal framework. The urgency of nuclear weapons abolition is permeating our global conscience; the voice of the vast majority is becoming the preeminent force for change in the international community. We must now do everything in our power to complete the task. The recent Hiroshima Conference on the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons by 2020 contributed to this task. Its Appeal identified two critical areas of work: first, achieving a greater level of unity and coordination among not just the anti-nuclear-weapon forces but also with other sectors of civil society, including groups concerned with climate change, humanitarian law, and the global economic crisis; second, eliciting true governmental leadership for the establishment of a nuclear-weapons-free world. The Appeal recognizes the valuable contributions of IPPNW and ICAN on the first point, and regarding the second point, proposes the convening of “a special disarmament conference in 2011 to facilitate the start of negotiation on a nuclear weapons convention.” We believe this is a challenge governments are ready to rise to, but they need a bit of encouragement from civil society. I do hope you will all make the “special conference” one of your key objectives in 2011. To achieve our overall goal within the 2020 timeframe, we will have to generate tremendous global momentum. People everywhere will have to press their nations hard to develop the political will required to abolish nuclear weapons. In this context, your Congress is a wonderful opportunity to discuss our future without nuclear weapons, and I hereby express my deepest respect for your commitment and endeavors. Eliminating nuclear weapons from the world will be one of humanity’s greatest achievements. To celebrate this achievement in 2020, the City of Hiroshima is exploring the feasibility of bidding for the 2020 Olympics, which we would make a “Festival of Peace.” I sincerely hope that, with your support, we can make our two dreams — a nuclear-weapon-free world and the Hiroshima Olympics — come true in the current decade. I have no doubt that your Congress will lead to an influential outcome that will guide the international community to a powerful unified campaign.
The City of Hiroshima