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Astana, November 20: The ATOM Project presentations and art exhibitions of the Honorary Ambassador of the ATOM Project Karipbek Kuykov took place in Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Nov. 20-21 drawing warm response and firm support for this international initiative by the President of Kazakhstan.

    Mayor of Hiroshima and President of the International Mayors for Peace Movement Kazumi Matsui, Chairman of Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation and Secretary General of Mayors for Peace Yasuyoshi Komizo, representatives of municipal governments of the prefecture and the city of Hiroshima, the media and regional anti-nuclear weapons associations participated in the event organized by the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Japan, the ATOM Project and a Japanese NGO, “Earth Identity Project”at the International Conference Centre Hiroshima on Nov. 20.

    In his opening speech, Kazumi Matsui stressed the importance of close cooperation between Japan and Kazakhstan in maintaining and strengthening the world peace. Speaking about the value of civil initiatives launched by the two states in order to achieve global nuclear disarmament, Kazumi Matsui expressed his solid support for the ATOM Project, initiated by President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

    Addressing the distinguished audience, Karipbek Kuyukov described his life experience and talked about initiatives of the President of Kazakhstan in nuclear disarmament, beginning with his landmark decision to close down the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site. The artist noted that the ATOM Project launched by the head of state on August 29, 2012, allows citizens of the world to contribute to building a future without nuclear weapons.

    Ambassador-at-large of Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Roman Vassilenko noted the similarity of the tragic history of the peoples of Japan and Kazakhstan in the second half of the 20th century and stressed that the unity of civil society efforts from different countries bears significant potential for achieving greater progress in global nuclear disarmament. Continued close cooperation between the ATOM Project and Japanese NGOs, actively working on these issues, is aimed precisely at full realization of such potential in support of efforts by the governments, the Kazakhstan diplomat said.

    During their visit to Hiroshima, the Kazakhstan delegation together with the Secretary General of Mayors for Peace Yasuyoshi Komizo and other Japanese colleagues laid flowers at the Cenotaph to commemorate the victims of the atomic bombing. They also visited the World Memorial Museum.

     During the discussions with Kazakhstan guests, Mayor Matsui and Chairman of the Hiroshima Peace Culture FoundationYasuyoshi Komizo expressed their intentions to visit Kazakhstan and meet their Kazakhstan colleagues engaged in Mayors for Peace, which today unites 5,800cities and settlements. They noted with satisfaction the entry into this movement by12cities in Kazakhstan in2012 and expressed confidence these cities will continue actively participating in pursuing the movement’s mission.

    Earlier, the Kazakhstan delegation met well-known Hibakusha (atomic bombing survivors) who have expressed their full support for the ATOM Project.

    Vassilenko and Kuyukov also addressed students at the Hiroshima Jogaku in Junior and Senior High School known for its long standing support for international initiatives to build a safer world. Students have shown keen interest in Kazakhstan’s initiatives and expressed willingness to support the ATOM Project’s main objectives and promote its call among their peers.

    On Nov. 21, the ATOM Project events continued in Nagasaki where meetings were held at the Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims. The Kazakhstan delegation laid flowers to the memorial bearing the names of those who died because of the bombing.

    In his remarks, Mayor of Nagasaki and Vice President of Mayors for Peace Tomihisa Taue recalled the profound impression his visit to Kazakhstan and to the former test site has left on him. “Standing on the former test site, I imagined well the pain and those feelings that the victims of nuclear testing felt,” Taue noted, expressing confidence that, by joining their efforts, the peoples of the world can achieve a noble goal of building a secure future without a nuclear threat hanging over the mankind.

    Kazakhstan representatives spoke of the country’s actions both at state and civil society level receiving warm response and expressions of readiness to work together in the future.

Joint Kazakhstan-Japanese activities in Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki have drawn great interest among leading national and regional Japanese print and electronic media that ran extensive materials covering the events.

Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Japan©2013