A-bomb artifact sold for 45 pounds at auction amid criticism

An artifact from the Hiroshima atomic bombing in 1945 was put up for auction Saturday and sold for 45 pounds (about 6,700 yen) amid criticism from atomic-bomb survivors and relatives of victims in the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

An 81-year-old British man decided to sell a roof tile from a Buddhist temple which was damaged by the explosion. He was given the piece by the Sairenji's priest as a gift when he traveled to Hiroshima in 1952.

Speaking to Kyodo News earlier from his home in Lincoln, north of London, the former British soldier said, ''I'm 81 now, single, and nobody from my family seems to want it. Somebody might like it as a memento, and I didn't want to throw it away.''

He said he had no idea there would be adverse reaction in Japan to the sale and is now considering donating half of the proceeds to an atomic-bomb survivors' charity.

Some people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki said the item is not something that should be sold or purchased.

The tile is granulated on the surface as a result of the heat rays from the explosion which reached a maximum temperature of 6,000 C for 0.1 second.

(Distributed by Kyodo News on July 11, 2009)