Governor of Hiroshima Prefecture Visits UNITAR Headquarters in Geneva
Day one started with the briefing on the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). The briefing was made by Mr. Alexander Mejia, Manager of the Local Development Programme (LDP) at UNITAR. In the beginning of the briefing, Hon. Governor Yuzaki and the delegation Head, Hon. Hiyama also expressed the importance of the UNITAR Hiroshima Office.
During the briefing, Hon. Tsunehiro Kido, one of the Assembly Members shared with UNITAR a possibility of the implementation of peacekeeping training programmes in Hiroshima. According to Hon. Kido, Hiroshima Prefecture is a unique location as all ground, air and marine self-defence forces are based within the Prefecture. If UNITAR implements peacekeeping training programmes, Hiroshima can provide useful study visits and mutual exchange between international participants and Japanese self-defence force.
The briefing was followed by the official guided tour at the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG). After the guided tour, UNITAR invited Hon. Governor Yuzaki and the delegation to a lunch at the Delegate Dining Room. Ms. Sally Fegan-Wyles, new Executive Director of UNITAR officially welcome them and emphasized the long lasting friendship between the Hiroshima Prefecture and UNITAR. During the official lunch, Mr. Sherifi Mohand and Ms. Amal Medani were also introduced as UNITAR leading team members. The Chairman of the Hiroshima Assembly also explained about the UNITAR Supporting Association among Assembly members which has existed since July 2003, expressed appreciations for Mr. Mejia who achieved distinguished goals during his tenure in Hiroshima, promised to support the UNITAR Hiroshima Office and appreciated a stronger relationship with Geneva.
Hon. Anri Kawai, the only female delegate expressed her willingness to collaborate in a new fellowship programme, initiated by the Executive Director. This initiative is to promote females in the field of politics. According to Hon. Kawai, she can start the Fellowship among an association among female assembly members in Hiroshima Prefecture and would like to expand it to national level.
After lunch, Hon. Governor Yuzaki and his team had a bilateral meeting with the representatives from International Committee of the Red Cross, including Mr. Alain Aeschlimann, the Head of Operation for East Asia and the Pacific, followed by the meeting with World Economic Forum as well as the protocorally meeting with Ambassador Otabe, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations in Geneva.
Day two started with a meeting with the Director-General of UNOG, Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan. After the brief explanation of ‘Hiroshima for Global Peace’ by Hon. Governor Yuzaki, Director-General Tokayev mentioned that disarmament is a top priority for the United Nations and the Conference of Disarmament is willing to help those who politically tackling this issue and emphasized the importance of the involvement of non political actors such as civil society and NGOs is also a key for disarmament. In addition, the Director-General mentioned his personal feeling towards nuclear disarmament and expressed his support to ‘Hiroshima for Global Peace’ initiative. The Director-General also accepted the invitation to visit Japan next year. Hon. Governor Yuzaki mentioned that if the Director-General and other six Presidents for the Conference of Disarmament would come to Hiroshima and attend a series of events to be led by the Hiroshima for Global Peace Initiative, next year would be a very special year not only for Hiroshima but also for world peace.
After the meeting with the Director-General of UNOG, the Governor moved to the University of Geneva to have a meeting with Rector Mr. Jean-Dominique Vassalli and to give a lecture at the University. The lecture was opened by the long-term relationship between the University of Geneva and Hiroshima University. When the atomic bomb was dropped in Hiroshima in 1945, the University of Geneva sent Hiroshima University a book of reconstruction and USD3 to buy trees. Hiroshima University also sent several bricks affected by the bomb and a book of Dr. Marcel Junod who came to Hiroshima right after the atomic bombing in order to help people in return. During the lecture, the Hon. Governor explained the background of the Hiroshima for Global Peace Initiative by emphasizing the difference between Hiroshima and Fukushima. Hiroshima is for world peace and tells us the power of nuclear weapon, which is made for killing people. Hiroshima lost 40% of city population in one atomic bombing. Hiroshima had a very high radiation in a short period and lost social system. On the other hand, Fukushima is for technology and tells us the risk of technology, which generates nuclear power. Fukushima did not loose anyone because of the accident. Earthquake and Tsunami devastated the area and caused the Fukushima issue. Fukushima has low but continuous radiation and still has social system. At the end of his lecture, the Hon. Governor addressed that Hiroshima is a symbol of peace and nuclear disarmament, tells what human beings could do both in positive and negative aspects, and gives faith for recovery and hope for future. He also mentioned how Hiroshima can help Fukushima through providing tracking systems to monitor affected people and medical support. He concluded his speech that comprehensive approach for nuclear abolition and world peace are necessary and the Hiroshima for Global Peace could greatly contribute for this effort with support of UNITAR. 45 people attended the lecture.
After the meeting and lecture at the University of Geneva, the Hon. Governor and the delegation visited the World Health Organization (WHO). This meeting was arranged by the Prefecture directly.
After the lunch with Ambassador Luis Gallegos, former President of the Conference of Disarmament and Mr. Mejia, the Hon. Governor attended the press conference organized at the Press Briefing Room at UNOG. At the press conference, the Hon. Governor introduced the Hiroshima for Global Peace Initiative and detailed plan for next year such as roundtables and peace concerts around 6 August as well as the brief information on his mission in London and Vienna. He also briefed his meetings with Director General of UNOG, Mr. Tokayev and possible collaboration and institutional cooperation for international peace. During this press conference as well, the Hon. Governor emphasized the difference between nuclear power plant and nuclear weapon.
After the press conference, the Hon. Governor had a closed meeting with Mr. Ivor Fung, the Officer-in-Charge for the Conference of Disarmament for 30 minutes.