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Peace Foundation Shock at Murder of Mayor Ito

18.4.07

Peace Foundation Shock at Murder of Peace Mayor Ito

Mayor Ito, Hon Phil Goff, Dr Kate Dewes and Ambassador John MacArthur in October 2006

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The Peace Foundation Disarmament and Security Centre in Christchurch is shocked and deeply saddened by the murder of the Mayor of Nagasaki Iccho Ito. He was an international peace leader in his role as Vice President of Mayors for Peace, who and spoke out strongly for a nuclear weapon free world.

“Mayor Ito had a long association with our Centre as a result of our leadership on the World Court Project from 1987-1996,” said Coordinator Dr Kate Dewes. “In 1995 he gave an impassioned and powerful presentation during the oral hearings at the World Court, arguing strongly that any threat or use of nuclear weapons was illegal. He was accompanied by a 50-strong team of hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) from Nagasaki and Hiroshima.”

He invited many New Zealand peacemakers to address conferences on nuclear abolition in Nagasaki. Politicians Willie Jackson, Keith Locke and Hon Phil Goff were the keynote speakers at three successive Nagasaki Global Citizens’ Assemblies for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

Mayor Ito visited New Zealand in 2002 to launch a photographic exhibition from the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki about the nuclear bombings of their cities. This exhibition has since been shown throughout the country at 16 museums and galleries. He invited Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore, a fellow Vice President of Mayors for Peace, to Nagasaki to take part in the annual Commemoration Ceremony on 9 August 2003.

In October last year Mayor Ito unveiled the peace sculpture given by the New Zealand people to Nagasaki with Hon Phil Goff and Wellington sculptor Kingsley Baird. During the 2006 Citizens’ Assembly, International Peace Bureau former Vice President Dr Kate Dewes and current Vice President Alyn Ware presented Mayor Ito with the Sean MacBride Peace Award.

ENDS

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