Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Interview with the Mayor of Hiroshima

The mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Mr. Tadatoshi Akiba and Mr. Itcho Ito, were both in New York City as participants in a huge peace march demanding abolishment of all nuclear weapons. Around 60,000 people marched in New York on May 1st., 2005, the day before the UN met to review the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Pacifica Radio's Amy Goodman interviewed Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba for her Democracy Now! show, and the in-studio interview was broadcast live on Wednesday, May 4th, 2005. Goodman asked Mr. Akiba if he could "talk about the significance of the meetings that are taking place at the United Nations?" The mayor answered: "Well, NPT, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, is the only international treaty that binds the hands of the nuclear weapon powers. In Article VI, although it is a very mild clause, that's the only international document which says that these countries must work very hard toward the elimination of nuclear weapons. And therefore, it is very significant, and we would like to strengthen this treaty so that by the year 2020 all nuclear weapons will be abolished. And that's the wish of hibakusha, Japanese word for the survivors of the atomic bomb. And that's why we're here. Oh, by the way, the mayors -- international mayors are here. At least a hundred mayors and city representatives are here to press the United Nations, representing the voices of millions of citizens around the world, and we are here to represent their voices, because that's the majority opinion in the world." Mr. Akiba's comments come at a time when the world community is experiencing a new atomic arms race. The Bush administration is developing a new generation of nuclear "bunker-buster" weapons, while threatening to attack Iran for its nuclear fuel enrichment programs. While criticizing the Bush administration, Mayor Akiba made it clear that his criticism applies to all countries who possess or are developing nuclear weapons -including North Korea and Iran. You can read the full interview with Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba at the Democracy Now! website. (posted by M.)