City of Hiroshima kicks off belated preservation work for A-bomb Dome after three-time unsuccessful bidding process

by Junji Akechi, Staff Writer

On September 3, the city of Hiroshima began preservation work for the A-bomb Dome, the World Heritage site located in Naka Ward. The work, which includes repainting of steel parts, was initially scheduled to be completed by October 2019, but its kickoff was delayed due to several unsuccessful bids. Scaffolding for the work will be built shortly, and the conservation work will continue until March, next year.

The first preservation work for the dome began in 1967, and this time marks the fifth such effort. The work this time will include repainting the dome’s steel beams and the circular stairs’ steel parts, which were painted in 1989, to dark brown, a color which is said to be similar to the one used as of the atomic bombing. A new method will be adopted to apply chemical processing to rust, which couldn’t be completely removed prior to the painting. The process will mean the repainted area will be protected for a longer period of time than the conventional method.

In addition, repair work will be undertaken for the seams between bricks on the wall, and cracks on the column in the window area. On September 3, four construction workers took away some of the fences surrounding the dome, and set up the gateway for work. They also placed an explanatory board describing the outline of the preservation work in four languages, which are Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean.

The city originally began the bidding procedure for this preservation work in February 2019. However, the bidding process was unsuccessful three times in a row. When the fourth round of bidding was implemented, Shimizu Corporation, a large construction firm based in Tokyo, made a successful bid of 74 million yen. The company has experience performing preservation work for the dome four times previously.

An officer at the city’s Park Development Division said, “We are relieved that the preservation work finally began. As the city government, we would like to play a role in preserving the dome, which continues to show us the real circumstances of the atomic bombing, for prosperity.”

(Originally published on September 4, 2020)