National Peace Memorial Hall for Atomic Bomb Victims suspends until Jan. 3 project for sending A-bomb survivors to communicate A-bombing experiences

by Kyosuke Mizukawa, Staff Writer

The Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims, located in the city’s Naka Ward, will suspend until January 3 of next year its program for the dispatch of A-bomb survivors from the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum to schools and other venues throughout Japan to communicate their A-bombing experiences. As recently as December 1, the memorial hall kicked off the new program in an effort to broadly convey the actual situation related to the atomic bombing. However, given the rapid rise in number of COVID-19 cases in Japan, the hall decided to suspend the program.

For the month of December, the memorial hall revealed that of the 34 scheduled visits by the A-bomb survivors to the Kansai, Shikoku, and other regions, it canceled 17, half of the total. Starting December 3, given the local coronavirus pandemic situation there, the hall stopped sending A-bomb survivors to venues in Osaka and elsewhere that required the speakers to travel through Osaka. Hiroshima City also faces a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, and as a result, the Hiroshima Prefecture government adopted intensive measures designed to prevent the spread of the virus during the period from December 12 this year to January 3, 2021. In accordance with that action by the prefectural government, the memorial hall began a temporary shutdown of its facilities on December 14 and halted all such visitations scheduled starting that day for the duration of the period.

In addition, the memorial hall also will suspend until January 3 the dispatch of Hiroshima City’s memory keepers and volunteers, who read the memoirs of A-bomb survivors and A-bomb poems to audiences. According to one hall staff member, “If schools or other groups would like to postpone their scheduled events featuring our dispatched A-bomb survivors or volunteers until a later date, we’ll adjust our schedule to accommodate their plans to the extent possible.”

(Originally published on December 17, 2020)