Yesterday, Hiroshima city mayor, Kazumi Matsui, and prefectural governor, Hidehiko Yuzaki, expressed their intent to actively pursue the possibility of bidding to host the G8 Summit when it is held in Japan in 2016.
Speaking to reporters following a joint meeting at Hiroshima City Hall, the two leaders both stressed that the hosting of the summit in Hiroshima would be a significant opportunity to share Hiroshima’s message of peace directly with some of the world’s leading politicians.
Mayor Matsui stressed that the city has long done everything in its power to get world leaders to visit the city, but that the G8 Summit presents a significant opportunity to have leaders of the member states – four of which have stockpiles of nuclear weapons – fully appreciate the catastrophic results of the use of nuclear weapons. Coming towards the end of US President Obama’s current term of office, it would also ensure the first visit to Hiroshima by sitting US president – a long term goal of both the city government and anti-nuclear peace activists.
The Ministry of Foreign affairs will announce the conditions which prospective host locations must meet to be considered in the summer, but it appears that Karuizawa in Nagano and Kobe are also throwing in their hats into the ring. In today’s Chugoku Shinbun, journalist Kouhei Okada notes that, although it appears that Hiroshima would be a strong candidate, its selection is by no means a foregone conclusion. Hiroshima also bid for the summit held in 2000. On that occasion, despite a well-received bid, the summit ended up being held in Okinawa. Okada lists strong lobbying in favor of giving Okinawa a much-needed economic boost, a late start by Hiroshima in its campaign to host and a lack of unity between the city and prefecture governments. He hopes that on this occasion the local business world, the city and prefecture can unify behind the rallying cry of “All Hiroshima.”
Would you like to see the G8 Summit come to Hiroshima or will you be booking a holiday that week?