Hiroshima City to close Peace Museum, other facilities — Events also canceled, postponed

by Tsuyoshi Kubota, Staff Writer

With the number of coronavirus cases surging, the Hiroshima City government’s taskforce for countermeasures determined on December 11 that 45 facilities with large numbers of visitors, including the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, would close starting December 12. Events sponsored by the city government are also to be canceled or postponed. The move was made after the public was requested to stay home to the extent possible between December 12 and January 3 next year, a period the Hiroshima Prefecture government has designated for intensive countermeasures to be taken against the virus. Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui stressed the sense of danger when he said, “To overcome this urgent crisis, we’ll put priority on prevention of the spread of the virus.”

Each of the 45 facilities receives at least 500 visitors each day or hold events that gather about the same number of people. The Peace Memorial Museum will be closed from December 14 through January 3 next year. However, individuals and groups that made advance reservations by December 11 will be allowed into the facilities even during the closure.

The Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art (Minami Ward), each Hiroshima Ward sports center, and Asa Zoological Park (Asaminami Ward), among others will close their doors by December 15. Exceptions will be made for events that cannot be easily canceled.

At the city’s taskforce meeting, explanations were provided regarding the city’s current coronavirus situation. Among 15 clusters that have been identified to this point in time, more than half occurred in December. As of December 9, there were 11 moderate and five severe cases of COVID-19. Of the 25 infected municipal elementary and junior high school students and teaching staff, 20 of the cases arose at the end of November or thereafter.

While the intensive countermeasures are in place, citizens have been requested to refrain from visiting family and relatives during the year-end and New Year’s holidays. The taskforce is also considering requesting restaurants and bars in downtown Hiroshima to reduce the hours during which the establishments serve alcohol. After the meeting, Mayor Kazumi appealed to the public for its cooperation. “We have tried to balance socio-economic activities and control of the spread of infections, but we will now prioritize preventing the spread of the virus in concert with the prefectural government,” said Mr. Kazumi. “We must overcome the current situation or the future will be bleak. Our success will depend on the actions of each of us.”

A list of the 45 facilities Hiroshima City has decided to temporarily close as soon as possible

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum (Naka Ward)
★ Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art (Minami Ward)
★ Hiroshima Castle (Naka Ward)
★ Numaji Transportation Museum (Asaminami Ward)
★ 5-Days Children’s Museum (Naka Ward)
11 libraries including the Chuo Library and the Manga Library
10 sports facilities including each Ward sports center and the Hiroshima Big Wave (Higashi Ward)
8 Ward community cultural centers
JMS Aster Plaza (Naka Ward)
★ International Conference Center Hiroshima (Naka Ward)
★ Hiroshima City Bunka Koryu Kaikan (Naka Ward)
Hiroshima City Exhibition Hall (Nishi Ward)
Hiroshima Sun Plaza Hall (Nishi Ward)
Hiroshima City Youth Center (Naka Ward)
Gojinsha Wendy Hito-Machi Plaza (Naka Ward)
◎ General Welfare Center (Minami Ward)
★ Asa Zoological Park (Asakita Ward)
★ Hiroshima Botanical Garden (Saeki Ward)
Hiroshima Velodrome (Minami Ward; races will be held without spectators)

(Originally published on December 12, 2020)