On a trip earlier this month, Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba addressed U.S. counterparts on efforts to stop nuclear proliferation. But, as the Hiroshima Peace Media Center reported, he didn’t get a chance to lobby top Obama administration officials for a presidential visit.
Vice President Joe Biden and other officials were supposed to go to the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Providence, R.I., earlier this month. But the administration kept everyone away because of a labor dispute that led to picketing by firefighters. The Providence Journal reported that the conference’s outgoing president, Miami Mayor Manuel Diaz, complained about the decision and urged the president to focus on governing, not politics.
Akiba, who has good connections with U.S. mayors and heads the nearly 3,000 member international Mayors for Peace, spoke to the mayors conference on nuclear abolition, which his group hopes to achieve by 2020. It’s unfortunate that he didn’t get to talk to Biden or any top officials about his hopes for a presidential visit, which could lend momentum to Obama’s own nonproliferation efforts.
The Peace Media Center reported that Akiba told Japanese reporters that he had urged mayors to lend their weight to the effort to persuade Obama to visit. The next president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors will be Seattle’s Greg Nickels. Nickels is one of the 135 U.S. mayors who belong to the Mayors for Peace.