• Kyodo

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Two buildings in Hiroshima that survived the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing are to be demolished as they have grown old and are at risk of collapsing in the event of an earthquake, a local committee said recently, despite calls from residents to preserve them.

A Hiroshima Prefectural Government committee said Dec. 4 that it plans by fiscal 2022 to demolish two of the three prefecture-owned buildings of the former Hiroshima Army Clothing Depot.

The two buildings, built in 1913 to produce military clothing and shoes, are located about 2.7 kilometers away from the hypocenter of the bombing. They are among the biggest remaining structures left from the atomic bombing of the city, according to the prefecture.

The buildings, made of reinforced concrete with red brick exteriors, have some hinged windows believed to have been deformed in the bomb blast.

Another army clothing depot building nearby is state-owned.

While the third building owned by the prefecture will be preserved, with its walls and roof expected to be reinforced and repaired, some Hiroshima residents are continuing to push for the preservation of the other two so they can be used as lecture halls or art studios, citing their historical value.

“They could be used as facilities toward (promoting) the abolition of nuclear weapons,” said Iwao Nakanishi, 89, a survivor of the atomic bomb who heads a civic group calling for the buildings to be saved.

A seismic-resistance evaluation in fiscal 2017 concluded that the buildings are highly likely to collapse if an earthquake of upper 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale to 7 hits the area.

The iconic Atomic Bomb Dome in the city’s Peace Memorial Park, which also survived the 1945 U.S. attack and is a World Heritage site, has undergone work to reinforce its quake resistance. The skeletal structure is now said to be able to withstand an earthquake with an intensity of lower 6.

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