Reopening of Peace Memorial Museum’s main building delayed until spring 2019 due to poor construction work performed in the past

by Hiroaki Watanabe, Staff Writer

On December 11, the City of Hiroshima announced that the reopening of the Peace Memorial Museum’s main building will be delayed until spring 2019. The main building was originally scheduled to reopen in July 2018. During the ongoing renovation work, defects were discovered in construction work performed in the past and thus more work on the building is now required.

According to a city official, after carrying out an internal inspection of the walls, ceilings, and floors in October, it was found that the condition of the concrete was not acceptable, with missing pilings and thin floors in some locations. The main building was completed in 1955, and the city has not yet determined the cause of the poor construction. As a result of consultations with the Agency for Cultural Affairs in November, the decision was made to carry out both preservation work and new construction for the renovations.

In addition, the renovation work will be pursued while relocating the museum’s large exhibits, including a stone on which the shadow of an A-bomb victim was scorched (the “Human Shadow Etched in Stone”), which will require more work than originally expected. This also contributes to the delay in completing the renovation efforts.

The work involving seismic reinforcements will also be delayed from the anticipated finish at the end of July 2019. After excavating the basement of the main building in October, it was found that some parts of the foundation were not constructed in accordance with the design plan, and therefore a design review is needed. Construction work is currently suspended, and a change to the design will be made after an examination by the Council for Cultural Affairs in February of next year. The projection for completing this work has not yet been made, but the city expects it will be finished in time for the Peace Memorial Ceremony in August 2020, the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing.

The city’s Peace Promotion Division has apologized for these delays, but says that the city must carry out the work carefully so that the museum can serve as a place to continue conveying the horrific reality of the devastation caused by the atomic bombing into the future.

(Originally published on December 12, 2017)