The upcoming peace memorial ceremony in Hiroshima is set to witness a record-breaking participation, with 110 countries and the European Union scheduled to attend, according to the Hiroshima Municipal Government. This year’s event, which will take place on August 6, is expected to surpass the previous record of 101 countries, including the EU, in 2015.
Among the nuclear powers, it is anticipated that Britain, France, India, and Israel will participate in the 2023 ceremony. However, China and Pakistan will be absent, and the United States is yet to make a decision. As for North Korea, there has been no response regarding its attendance.
Notably, the invitation extended to Russia for this year’s ceremony has been retracted. Hiroshima’s decision follows Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which commenced in February 2022. In light of these geopolitical developments, Russia’s presence at the memorial event has been omitted.
To accommodate the growing number of participants, the seating capacity for this year’s ceremony will be nearly doubled, with approximately 7,000 seats available. This increase is made possible by the downgrading of COVID-19 to a lower-risk category under the infectious disease control law in May. Furthermore, to encourage wider participation, seats for general attendees will be provided without the need for prior applications, a practice not seen in the past four years.
The peace memorial ceremony will be held at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and broadcasted live at the International Conference Center Hiroshima. Around 2,200 seats will be prepared at the center, allowing viewers to witness the event remotely.
A municipal government official expressed their belief that the increased number of participants in the peace memorial ceremony reflects the global attention garnered by Hiroshima’s historical significance and its ongoing efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons. Notably, the recent Group of Seven (G7) summit held in Hiroshima further emphasized the city’s importance, as leaders from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States, and the European Union convened for three days in May.
Hiroshima, devastated by the U.S. atomic bomb on August 6, 1945, during the final days of World War II, continues to serve as a poignant reminder of the devastating consequences of nuclear warfare. The annual peace memorial ceremony brings together nations from around the world in remembrance and reflection, fostering a collective commitment to pursuing a nuclear-free future.
As preparations are underway for the landmark event, the world’s attention turns to Hiroshima, a city that endured unimaginable suffering but remains steadfast in its pursuit of peace and nuclear disarmament.