Mayors for Peace proposes 2,000 yen annual fee from member cities

Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui said Thursday that as chairman of the antinuclear Mayors for Peace organization he plans to ask each of its member cities to pay 2,000 yen in annual membership fees for the first time.

Currently, the 20 million yen in annual costs to run the body is funded only by Hiroshima and Nagasaki cities, which suffered U.S. atomic bombings in 1945 during World War II.

Matsui's proposal is expected to be formally approved at a general meeting of the organization in Hiroshima in August, with the aim of giving members a greater sense of participation and unity by shouldering even a small amount of the expense.

As of Wednesday, 5,617 cities from 156 countries and regions are members of the organization, set up in 1982.

Matsui, meanwhile, reiterated his disappointment at the Japanese government's decision not to support a statement against the use of nuclear weapons issued at a preparatory committee in Geneva last month for the next Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review meeting.

"I understand it is difficult (to support the statement) from the perspective of international situations, but I want the government to cope with these difficulties," he said.

The statement on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons urges that they never be used under any circumstances. According to South African delegation officials, Japan sought to eliminate the wording of "under any circumstances."