Member authorities of the UK & Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) are cooperating with other Mayors for Peace members, local and national peace and faith groups, and the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as they remember the 75thanniversary of the use of nuclear weapons in the Second World War.
On the 6thand 9thAugust 1945, the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were largely destroyed by the first use of nuclear weapons in warfare. The highly enriched uranium bomb and the plutonium bomb immediately killed as many as 130,000 people, and by the end of the year that figure had risen to over 200,000 people, due to the effects of radiation and the severe injuries many had endured.
The rebuilding of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has seen both cities dedicate themselves to the cause of peace, with the mayors of each city establishing the Mayors for Peace organisation in 1982. The NFLA has closely cooperated with Mayors for Peace for almost 40 years now. The NFLA host authority Manchester City Council is also a Vice President of the Mayors for Peace and administers the UK and Ireland Mayors for Peace Chapter.
Since 1946, Hiroshima and Nagasaki have held annual Peace Ceremonies on the 6thand the 9thAugust to commemorate all those who died from the atomic weapon attacks up to the present day. They are also focal events with which to promote peace and reconciliation and call for the abolition of nuclear weapons. In this 75thanniversary year, members of the NFLA had been looking forward to attending the 11thMayors for Peace Executive and General Conference in Hiroshima, but the Covid-19 pandemic have seen this important meeting postponed until August 2021. NFLA are pleased the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Peace Ceremonies are still going ahead, even though it is with a much reduced attendance.
Despite the pandemic and social distancing rules, NFLA members and Mayors for Peace members are cooperating with peace and faith groups to organise live or online events to commemorate the 75thanniversary. The Lord Mayor of Manchester has already been one of the speakers in a Mayors for Peace YouTube video calling for no further nuclear weapon attacks under the slogan of ‘No More Hiroshima! No More Nagasaki!’ (1)
Some notable events (2) this week including NFLA and Mayors for Peace members are:
- Mayors for Peace Vice President Manchester City Council is creating an online series of pre-recorded readings and background information on its involvement with NFLA, Mayors for Peace and peace education programmes around Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the Manchester City Centre Peace Trail. A dedicated webpage will be released to the public at 6pm on August 5that https://www.manchester.gov.uk/LetThereBePeace.
- Leeds City Council is holding a socially distanced commemoration event on Sunday August 9that the Mayors for Peace memorial plaque and tree at Park Square, Leeds city centre (10.30am – 11.30am). The Lord Mayor of Leeds will unveil a wreath at the event.
- The Mayor of Camden will lay a wreath at the official Hiroshima and Nagasaki event in London from 12pm onwards in Tavistock Square.
- A Yorkshire CND commemoration for Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the cooperation of the Lord Mayor of Bradford will be held online on the 8thAugust, 11am – 12pm.
- Sheffield’s Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemoration event will be held in the Peace Gardens, by Sheffield Town Hall on the 4thAugust from 12.30pm – 1.30pm.
- Liverpool CND will hold a vigil event in St John’s Gardens in the presence of the Lord Mayor of Liverpool on the 6thAugust at 10.30am – 11.30am.
- Glasgow will hold commemoration events at noon on the 6thAugust and 2pm on the 9thAugust at the Kelvingrove Park Peace Tree in the presence of NFLA representatives from Glasgow City Council.
Many other events are taking place across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, as well as all over the globe, such as with the ‘Peace, Art, Music’ initiative (3) and the ‘Hiroshima Global Peace Wave’. (4)
NFLA is also an enthusiastic member of the Nobel Peace Laureate group the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, or ICAN, and supports its ICAN Cities Appeal (5) initiative as a way for Councils to encourage their governments to support and ratify the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. ICAN and other global disarmament NGOs are actively supporting many events and initiatives as part of the 75thanniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (6)
NFLA remains very concerned that none of the existing nuclear weapon states are making any real progress in dismantling further the existing stockpiles of around 14,000 nuclear weapons, but rather appear to be spending billions on ‘modernising’ them. They are only paying lip-service to the need for multilateral disarmament, which makes it all the more important to remember the catastrophic humanitarian impact these weapons would bring if used.
NFLA Steering Committee Chair, Councillor David Blackburn said:
“Our thoughts as we approach the 75thanniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic weapon attacks remain with the survivors, or hibakusha, and their hopes that there will never again be another such attack. With the growing tensions between nuclear weapon states and the unstable nature of global politics, it is essential for all those who want to see a world without nuclear weapons to continue to work together for that aim. I am confident that the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will become international law shortly and become an important lever for those who believe nuclear disarmament is required now and not in some dim and distant future. NFLA was set up almost 40 years ago to see a nuclear free world. It has been so frustrating to watch ‘global power politics’ continue to prevent this aim becoming reality. The commemoration of the events of August 1945 remind us how important nuclear disarmament will always remain, and we shall still work tirelessly to achieve it. No more Hiroshima! No more Nagasaki!”
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 00 44 (0)161 234 3244.
Notes for Editors:
(1) Mayors for Peace 75thHiroshima and Nagasaki anniversary campaign
(2) UK & Ireland Mayors for Peace Policy Briefing 29, 27thJuly 2020, paper hosted at
(3) The Hiroshima Peace, Art and Music initiative will be shown live around the world on the 6thAugust from the YouTube link
(4) Gensuyiko Global Peace Wave
(5) ICAN Cities Appeal
(6) ICAN 75thanniversary website