Seismic reinforcement work on main building of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is completed

(by Junji Akechi, Staff Writer)

On October 25, earthquake reinforcement work on the main building of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, located in Naka Ward, was completed. This work was begun in June 2017. The fencing that surrounded the entire building, to prevent passage into the worksite, has been removed and the space beneath the building is now open to the public. In this area, an excavation of A-bombed remains was carried out before the reinforcement work began, and it took roughly four years before all the fencing and other installations were finally removed from the space beneath the main building.

On this day, workers contracted by the city to pursue the reinforcement project removed the fencing that was surrounding the main building. Visitors from both Japan and abroad can now be seen passing underneath the building.

Because the museum’s main building is a nationally-designated important cultural asset, the reinforcement work was undertaken in a way that would not significantly change the appearance of the building. The foundations of the building were fortified with stakes and then a seismic isolator was installed underground. The total cost of the reinforcement work, including the interior work and the reconstruction of a corridor connecting the east building with the main building, was 2,842 million yen. The work was originally scheduled to be finished by the end of July 2019, but the completion was delayed due to the discovery of defective construction work carried out in the past.

In this area, excavation work started in November 2015 for the purpose of recording the A-bombed remains in the ground which could be lost as a result of the earthquake reinforcement work. Except for the period of time during which only partial access was available, for example, during the visit of former U.S. President Barack Obama in May 2016, the worksite had always been fenced off.

As the space underneath the main building was in shadow, it was often used by students and children on school excursions and field trips to eat their lunches and to line up to enter the museum when the museum was crowded. A staff member of Hiroshima City’s Peace Promotion Division said, “I’m relieved that the reinforcement work was completed before next year’s Peace Memorial Ceremony, which will mark the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing. I was moved to see the area returned to its former use after an interval of four years.”

(Originally published on October 26, 2019)