August 6th and August 9th 2018 will be the 73rd anniversary of the atomic weapon attacks on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which led to the direct and longer-term deaths of over 220,000 people in the two cities. Many Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) members, in solidarity with the Mayors for Peace organisation led by Hiroshima and Nagasaki, will organise their own local events next week. (1)
The atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki destroyed 90% of both cities and killed 110,000 people instantaneously. Around the same amount died days and months later due to the impact of radiation from the bombs on their bodies. Since 1946, the two cities hold annual Peace Memorial Ceremonies to remember those who died and for the survivors, known as ‘hibakusha’. The aim of each annual ceremony is to call for no future use of nuclear weapons and ‘no more hibakushas’.
NFLA was established on the 5th November 1980 pledged to the same aim, and over the past near four decades has worked across the world, and with Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to call for a nuclear weapons free world. It links in with Mayors for Peace, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and national groups like CND (in its 60th year of activity) to help to realise that aim.
NFLA members are encouraged to hold their own ceremonies to show support and solidarity with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Such ceremonies are taking place all across the world as well.
NFLA host authority, Manchester City Council, is also a Vice President of Mayors for Peace, and is on its International Executive Board. In 2017 the Lord Mayor of Manchester attended that year’s Hiroshima and Nagasaki Peace Ceremonies.
Amongst the events taking place next week in the UK and Ireland, involving NFLA and Mayors for Peace members, include (2):
- The Lord Mayor of Manchester will lead a commemoration service in Manchester Museum on the 6th August, which will include a paper crane and paper bee folding workshop for children. (3)
- In London, the Mayor of Camden will open the capital’s annual memorial ceremony being held in Tavistock Square.
- In Leeds, the Deputy Leader of Leeds City Council and the NFLA English Forum Chair will read the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Peace Declarations at their memorial service in Park Square.
- The Lord Mayor of Sheffield will lead the city’s commemoration service in the Peace Gardens, adjacent to Sheffield Town Hall.
- Edinburgh’s Hiroshima-Nagasaki event takes place in Mound Place close to the Scottish National Gallery.
- Renfrewshire’s memorial event will include an address from Ross Greer MSP in Barshaw Park Peace Garden.
- In Cardiff, memorial events to Hiroshima and Nagasaki will take place at the National Eisteddfod taking place this year at Cardiff Bay.
- In Dublin, Irish CND’s annual event is held in Merrion Place and includes the Lord Mayor of Dublin.
NFLA Steering Committee Vice Chair, Councillor David Blackburn said:
“As the 73rd anniversary of the atomic weapon attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki nears, I am pleased to see that there will be so many events happening around the UK, Ireland and the world in solidarity with the two Japanese cities who work so hard for a nuclear weapons free world. It is important that we remember what happened on the 6th and 9th August 1945 and work together so that it may never happen again. All of the existing nuclear weapon states are seeking to spend billions of pounds modernising their weapons programme. What they should rather be doing is joining with the large majority of states, including Ireland, who have agreed and are ratifying the Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons. NFLA are proud to be a member of the Nobel Peace Prize winning ICAN coalition and to be a strategic partner of Mayors for Peace. We will continue working for our shared goal of a world free of nuclear weapons, which is as urgent and pressing now as it has ever been.”
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 00 44 (0)161 234 3244.
Notes for editors:
(1) For further information on Mayors for Peace go to – http://www.mayorsforpeace.org/english/index.html
(2) For a list of global events taking place for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki 73rd anniversaries go to http://www.abolition2000.org/event/hiroshima-and-nagasaki-commemoration-events/
(3) A flyer for Manchester’s Hiroshima-Nagasaki commemoration event can be found at https://www.nuclearpolicy.info/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Invitation.pdf