Hiroshima City to postpone exhibit of unearthed structural remains of A-bombed district until next fiscal year

by Junji Akechi, Staff Writer

On June 12, the Hiroshima City government announced that its planned exhibit of unearthed structural remains from the former Nakajima district, which lie in the ground under Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, would be postponed until fiscal 2021. The exhibit had been arranged to open in fiscal 2020, but completion of a basic plan, the premise on which the exhibit is based, was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The municipal government is therefore taking another look at the exhibit schedule.

“Because of the spread of the novel coronavirus, the basic plan will be completed in mid-June, about three months later than originally planned. The public exhibit of the structural remains will begin sometime in fiscal 2021,” said Akio Masauji, head of the city’s Citizens Affairs Bureau, at a city assembly question-and-answer session.

For the city, the building of a facility to exhibit the A-bombed structural remains is part of its efforts to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing. According to the city plans, which were put together in January of this year, a one-story building designed to cover the remains and accommodate tours is to be built on the north side of the east building of the Peace Memorial Museum. The area is part of the former Tenjin-machi-suji street, which was lined with shops and houses prior to the atomic bombing. The plan included an exhibit of actual walls of homes that were burned and destroyed in the bombing and replicas of burned and carbonized tatami mats and wooden boards.

The city government had planned to complete the basic plan during fiscal 2019. However, there were scheduling delays resulting from the inability to hold meetings with a consulting firm in Tokyo due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The municipal government will hold a meeting of experts in the summer and inquire of archeologists, A-bomb survivors, and civic groups of their views about the basic plan.

Whether or not the structural remains can be exhibited on August 6 is now being discussed. An official of the city’s A-bomb Experience Preservation Division said, “Under these circumstances, delays in the schedule are inevitable. We will carefully examine a new schedule for opening the remains to the public.”

(Originally published on June 13, 2020)