Hiroshima civic group submits 6,430 signatures to prefectural government calling for withdrawal of demolition plan for Army Clothing Depot

by Kohei Okata, Staff Writer

A citizens group calling for preservation of the former Army Clothing Depot (in Hiroshima’s Minami Ward), one of the largest groups of buildings to survive the Hiroshima atomic bombing, submitted 6,430 signatures to the Hiroshima prefectural government on March 10 opposing demolition of the buildings. Because the prefectural government has decided to postpone the 2020 launch of its plan to demolish two of the buildings and preserve the outer appearance of the other building, the citizens group decided to temporarily stop its signature drive and start a fund-raising campaign.

On that day, Iwao Nakanishi, 90, representative of the civic group and a resident of the city of Kure’s Yasuura-cho, along with five other group members met with Taiki Adachi, chief of Hiroshima Prefecture Property Administration Division, at the prefectural government offices, to submit the signatures. They urged Mr. Adachi to ensure that the national, prefectural, and municipal governments work together to consider how to preserve and utilize all the buildings, and conveyed their support for the idea of having the buildings designated as cultural properties.

Including those sent in January, the total number of signatures sent to Hiroshima Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki now totals 9,130. Mr. Adachi explained the Hiroshima Prefecture government’s decision not to include the costs associated with dismantling the buildings in the initial budget for fiscal year 2020 and the reason why the prefectural government has included the costs in the initial budget associated with reinforcement of the building walls and with reviews regarding reuse of the buildings. Mr. Adachi provided a detailed explanation of the situation to the group members and asked for their understanding.

After submitting the signatures, Mr. Nakanishi said, “I’m very glad that so many people have agreed to preserve all the buildings. I strongly believe that the prefectural government will withdraw its demolition plan.” With the understanding that preservation of all the buildings requires a source of revenue, the group will proceed with detailed plans for its fund-raising campaign.

(Originally published on March 11, 2020)