Symposium in Hiroshima seeks preservation and use of A-bombed building

by Kenji Wadaki, Staff Writer

On September 13, a symposium was held in downtown Hiroshima to consider the preservation and use of an A-bombed building, located in the center of the city, that was once part of Hiroshima University's science faculty. The symposium was held to mark the 60th anniversary of the enactment of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial City Construction Law. About 70 people explored the question of preserving and making use of the building, which has conveyed the terrible reality wrought by the atomic bombing to this day.

Three experts delivered keynote speeches at the symposium. Hiroshi Nunokawa, a professor at the Graduate School of Hiroshima University, noted the need to create a consensus among citizens on the preservation of the building: "The Hiroshima Peace Memorial City Construction Law has stipulated that Hiroshima is a symbol of lasting peace, and the law has made this pledge to the world. The future of the building depends on the citizens." Masaharu Ishida, a research associate at the Hiroshima University Archives, stressed the significance of this "tangible evidence" of the bombing, arguing, "Public institutions should take the lead in preserving the building."

Kazuo Watanabe, professor emeritus at Hiroshima University, advocated that the building be used as a natural history museum that deals with such areas as cutting-edge medical care and health.

During the panel discussion, some people called for inviting the United Nations University and using the building again in connection with the A-bomb Dome, a World Heritage site in downtown Hiroshima.

The symposium was held by a citizens' group engaged in the preservation of A-bombed buildings and a group of researchers specializing in local history.

(Originally published on September 14, 2009)