1000 Paper Cranes and Mayors for Peace
In late April 2004 Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba of Hiroshima visited five Canadian cities including Ottawa. His visit to Ottawa was hosted by Physicians for Global Survival (Canada) and the office of City Councillor Clive Doucet. At a luncheon hosted by Ottawa Mayor Bob Chiarelli, Mayor Akiba was presented with 1000 paper cranes folded by local Grade 6 students from Kathryn Ferris’ class at D. Roy Kennedy public school. After reading Sadako, students decided they wanted to be involved, in their own way, in efforts to abolish nuclear weapons. (See: http://www.sadako.org/sadakostory.htm for the Sadako story.)
Mayor Akiba travelled from Canada to New York City for preparatory meetings at the United Nations in the lead-up to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in 2005. The 2005 Review Conference will coincide with the 60th anniversary of the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6th and 9th, 1945.
As President of Mayors for Peace, (a coalition started by the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1982 and which now includes members from 562 cities in 108 countries and regions around the world), Mayor Akiba is a leading proponent of the full ratification of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at the UN and complete elimination of nuclear weapons by the year 2020.
Mayors for Peace has initiated an Emergency Campaign to Ban Nuclear Weapons and is exploring ways that cities can work together to arouse international public demand for the abolition of nuclear weapons. They seek ways to help each other address the many other problems that threaten peaceful coexistence, from hunger and poverty to refugee, human rights, and environmental issues. The organization encourages mayors to strengthen cooperation to abolish nuclear weapons and work for a genuine world peace that values reconciliation and humanity.
Prior to becoming Mayor of Hiroshima five years ago, Tadatoshi Akiba was a member of the Japanese House of Representatives for nine years. He received his Ph.D in Mathematics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1970, and taught at the State University of New York in Stony Brook and at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. Returning to Japan, he taught at Hiroshima Shudo University in Japan for 11 years.