Permanent A-bomb exhibit to open this fall in Europe

by Yumi Kanazaki, Staff Writer

The City of Hiroshima will establish a permanent exhibit of A-bomb related materials at the United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG) this fall in a joint effort with the City of Nagasaki. Currently, U.N. headquarters in New York hosts a permanent display of A-bomb related materials. The display at UNOG will mark the first such exhibit at a U.N. site in Europe.

The City of Hiroshima is now engaged in discussion with the City of Nagasaki regarding the display of materials that will convey the horrific consequences of the atomic bombings. These materials will include photo panels and film screenings in which survivors relate their A-bomb experiences. The City of Hiroshima will earmark about 10 million yen in the budget proposal for fiscal year 2011 to cover the costs associated with this exhibit.

The idea was proposed by Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue and inspired by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s visit to Hiroshima and Nagasaki last August. Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba readily agreed to the proposal. According to the City of Nagasaki, Shunichi Yamashita, a professor at Nagasaki University Graduate School, visited Geneva to attend an international conference and handed a personal letter from Mayor Taue to Sergei Ordzhonikidze, the director-general of UNOG, winning his support for the idea. The secretariat for the Geneva Conference on Disarmament is also located in UNOG.

Sunao Tsuboi, 85, co-chairperson of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-bomb Sufferers Organizations and a resident of Hiroshima, welcomed the move, saying, “The true consequences of the atomic bombings are not widely known in Europe, as was evident by the recent BBC broadcast which made fun of a Japanese man who survived the atomic bombings of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A permanent exhibition there is an important step.”

(Originally published on February 3, 2011)