Prime Minister to visit former Army Clothing Depot timed for August 6 ceremony, likely to devise measures to support its preservation

by Yo Kono, Staff Writer

It was learned on June 25 that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would visit the former Army Clothing Depot buildings, some of the largest buildings that survived the atomic bombing on Hiroshima, when he comes to the city to attend the Peace Memorial Ceremony to be held in the Peace Memorial Park on August 6. Apparently, he is intending to look at the buildings that convey the horrors of the atomic bombing with his own eyes and devise support measures for the preservation of these buildings.

On June 25, members of “the parliamentarians’ association to promote relief to A-bomb survivors, the abolition of nuclear weapons and the realization of lasting world peace” of the Liberal Democratic Party met with Akihiro Nishimura, the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, at the Prime Minister’s office and held a meeting behind closed doors. The members included Takeo Kawamura, former Chief Cabinet Secretary and chairman of the association (a representative of the third election district of Yamaguchi), Minoru Terada, head manager (Hiroshima’s fifth district), Hiroshi Hiraguchi, secretary general (Hiroshima’s second district) and Toshifumi Kojima (proportional representation’s Chugoku district).

According to the participants of the meeting, Mr. Kawamura, among other members, requested that the prime minister visit the clothing depot. Mr. Nishimura told them that arrangements were being made so the prime minister would have time to visit the depot before or after the peace memorial ceremony. He also said that Katsunobu Kato, the Health, Labour and Welfare Minister (Okayama’s fifth district), would accompany the prime minister.

Mr. Kawamura also handed Mr. Nishimura a letter requesting that the prime minister cooperate with the prefectural government of Hiroshima to preserve the clothing depot. Mr. Nishimura said, “I will convey this message to the prime minister,” according to the participants.

When questioned about the preservation and utilization of the army clothing depot in the plenary sessions of the House of Representatives and the House of Councilors in January and March, respectively, Prime Minister Abe responded, “The national government will take appropriate measures to convey the reality of the atomic bombing to the next generation.”

The Hiroshima city government has announced that the number of seats for participants in this year’s Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony would be reduced to a maximum of 880, which is 90 percent less than in the average year, to prevent the spread of the novel corona virus infection. The city government will invite the prime minister and the health minister as in the past.

(Originally published on June 26, 2020)