Hiroshima mayor signals intent to preserve one portion of A-bombed remnants unearthed at planned site of new soccer stadium

by Kyosuke Mizukawa, Staff Writer

On July 13, Hiroshima City Mayor Kazumi Matsui expressed his intent to investigate possible ways to cut away, preserve, and use one portion of A-bombed remnants of the military facility of the former Japanese Army’s transport unit known as the Chugoku District transport soldier recruitment unit (“Shichotai” in Japanese). The artifacts were discovered in the inner, open space in Hiroshima’s Central Park, located in the city’s Naka Ward, which is the scheduled site for Hiroshima’s new soccer stadium. Mr. Matsui added that the site for relocation of the remnants to be preserved would be further examined, including an area inside the park as one option.

During a press conference, Mr. Matsui provided his assessment of the unearthed artifacts. “I’m sure the site will help to remind people of Hiroshima before the war,” said the mayor. At the same time, he stressed it would be advisable to look into the preservation and utilization of the portion of completely excavated remnants in a way that would allow better understanding of the prewar situation in Hiroshima.

With respect to potential relocation sites for the partial remnants, Mr. Matsui explained, “We are looking at places not far from the site, and perhaps somewhere appropriate within the park.” In terms of the possibility of preserving the artifacts at the spot where they were uncovered, he expressed skepticism. “It would be hard to incorporate the remnants into the stadium.” Mr. Matsui pointed out that the current condition of the artifacts was not favorable, because emergency dwellings had been constructed on top of the military facility ruins.

The Shichotai unit was assigned to transport arms, ammunition, and food using horses and motor vehicles. More than 400 members belonging to the unit are considered to have died in the U.S. military’s atomic bombing of the city. An excavation survey was initiated last year in the western side of the park’s open space, which is the planned site of construction for the new stadium. At present, traces of military horse stables and watering places for the horses have been excavated.

(Originally published on July 14, 2021)