Number of protest letters against nuclear tests reaches 594

by Yuki Kuwata, Staff Writer

On August 3, copies of the protest letters against nuclear tests that have been written by a succession of Hiroshima mayors came to completely cover the walls of the replica of the Atomic Bomb Dome found in the east wing of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The latest letter was the 594th, dated May 26 and addressed to North Korea. It was placed in the last empty space on the wall.

The letter of protest was copied onto a transparency of 21 centimeters in length and 13 centimeters in width. It was written by Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba and includes the following words to North Korea: “I demand that you...play a sincere and constructive role in good-faith negotiations for universal nuclear disarmament.”

The walls of the A-bomb Dome replica are 2.6 meters high. Since the opening of the east wing in June 1994, the museum has put copies of the protest letters, including those sent before the opening, on four walls of the replica: two outside walls (2.1 meters in width) and two inside walls (1.7 meters in width). Two or three times a year, in conjunction with renovations to the permanent exhibits, copies of the most recent protest letters are placed on the walls.

The first letter of protest was sent to France by then Hiroshima Mayor Setsuo Yamada in September 1968. A total of four Hiroshima mayors have sent letters of protest to eight nations, including the United States, Russia, and China. “We hope that the letter put on the wall today will be the very last one so a new space for further letters of protest will not be needed,” a museum official said.

(Originally published on August 4, 2009)