The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) welcomes events being held in the UK and Ireland, and across the world, which commemorate and share in solidarity with the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the approaching 72nd anniversary of the atomic weapon attacks on both cities, which led to the death of over 200,000 people.
The Lord Mayor of Manchester will be amongst other leading Mayors of the Executive Board of Mayors for Peace attending its 9th General Conference being held in Nagasaki on the 7th – 10th August. The Lord Mayor will also take an active part in the Hiroshima Peace Ceremony and is meeting the UK Ambassador to Japan after the Nagasaki Peace Ceremony.
The first Hiroshima Peace Ceremony took place on July 6th 1946 and has been held on August 6th every year since then. It is a solemn occasion to remember all those who died 72 years ago, and for those that have died of radiation related illness to the present day. The Japanese Prime Minister and a representative of the UN Secretary General attend it and speak at the ceremony. The highlight of both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Peace Ceremonies is a Peace Declaration from the city mayor and a minutes silence for the departed.
In solidarity with Hiroshima and Nagasaki, towns and cities across the world – Mayors for Peace currently has 7,417 members in 162 countries – hold similar ceremonies in their locality. (1)
In the UK and Ireland some of the prominent events being held include (2):
- Manchester’s official ceremony takes place in Manchester Museum and is being led by the Deputy Lord Mayor of Manchester. As well as remembering the sacrifice in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it will remember the 22 innocent civilians killed in the Manchester Arena bomb attack and concludes with a communal reading of the poem ‘Manchester – This is the Place’.
- London’s annual ceremony takes place in Tavistock Square and includes readings by Catherine West MP, the Deputy Mayor of Camden and music from the Raised Voices choir.
- In Bradford, the Lord Mayor of Bradford will read out the Hiroshima Peace Declaration in an event of readings, poetry and music.
- In Leeds, the Lord Mayor of Leeds with NFLA Steering Committee Vice-Chair Councillor David Blackburn will lead an event of readings, reflection and singing on Nagasaki Day in Park Square by the Mayors for Peace memorial plaque and tree.
- The Lord Mayor of Sheffield will sign the Sheffield Mayors for Peace Declaration and attend a peace picnic in the Japanese Walled Garden in Meersbrook Park.
- Edinburgh will see a commemoration of singing, poetry, speeches and paper crane making at The Mound on Princes Street.
- Glasgow’s official Hiroshima–Nagasaki commemoration will take place by the peace tree in Kelvingrove Park.
- In Paisley, Renfrewshire Council’s NFLA representative will be one of the speakers at its commemoration in Barshaw Park Peace Garden.
- The groups Wales for Peace, CND Cymru and Cymdeithas y Comod will be holding the national Welsh event at the Anglesey National Eisteddfod. (3)
- The official Irish commemoration to Hiroshima and Nagasaki will take place in Merrion Square, Dublin with a senior councillor representing the Lord Mayor of Dublin and a representative of the Japanese Embassy also in attendance. (4)
This year’s commemorations take place shortly after over 120 countries at the United Nations agreed to the development of a historic Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty. However, all existing nuclear weapon states, NATO members and countries under the ‘nuclear umbrella’ boycotted the treaty discussion. The United States Government has just called for a $1 trillion upgrade of its nuclear weapons programme while the UK Government is pushing forward with a Trident replacement programme that could include lifetime costs totalling £205 billion. (5) As a supporting partner of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), NFLA will continue to work tirelessly for the goal of a nuclear weapons free world.
NFLA Steering Committee Vice-Chair Councillor David Blackburn said:
“The upcoming anniversaries of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear weapon attacks are an annual reminder to us of the terrible destruction such missiles bring. With over 17,000 nuclear weapons still in existence around the world the risks of another catastrophic use of such weaponry remains very much in our mind. It is important in all the ceremonies around the UK, Ireland and the world to reinforce the need to continue to work for multilateral nuclear disarmament. The US and UK amongst others should be seeking not to upgrade nuclear weapons but rather take on board the majority view of the governments of the world to abolish such weaponry. Until they do, we will continue to challenge the flawed logic of nuclear deterrence.”
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 00 44 (0)161 234 3244.
Notes for editors:
(1) Mayors for Peace website http://www.mayorsforpeace.org
(2) For a list of Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemoration events go to – http://cnduk.org/component/k2/item/3470
(3) Welsh Hiroshima – Nagasaki event http://www.wcia.org.uk/event.html?id=51784206
(4) Irish Hiroshima-Nagasaki event http://www.patrickcomerford.com/2017/08/irish-cnd-announces-memorial-for.html
(5) CND Media Release, 24th July 2017 http://cnduk.org/cnd-media/item/3494-will-the-cost-of-trident-soar-above-£205-billion?