On August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped by the US on Hiroshima resulting in more than 80,000 fatalities and 35,000 injuries. More than 90% of the city's infrastructure was completely or partially destroyed and just 85 buildings were left unharmed. It was the first time a nuclear weapon was used during a war. Japan did not immediately surrender and the United States dropped another bomb in Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. 6 days later, Japan surrendered and World War 2 was over.
The 2 buildings in Hiroshima survived as they are made from reinforced concrete despite suffering some damage to their windows and doors.
The 2 structures that are going to be demolished were constructed in 1913 and they are among the largest buildings that survived the atomic explosion. The buildings that were initially used for clothing and shoe production and later for accommodating students from the Hiroshima University, are located around 2.7 kilometers from the explosion point. After the atomic bombing, the buildings were transformed into a temporary hospital.
The demolition was suggested by the Hiroshima government for safety reasons. According to a study conducted in 2017, the buildings are prone to collapse in case of major earthquakes (above M 6.0). In particular, it was found that the structures stand on soft ground while their walls are not capable of supporting the buildings during an intense seismic shock.
The structures are not currently inhabited or open to visitors. Officials decided for the demolition to be conducted by 2022.
A third building with the same characteristics will not be demolished but it will be repaired in order to withstand large tremblors. Authorities decided to renovate it as it is closest to the location of the explosion and it is considered of higher historical value. Whether this building will be safe to be visited after the repairs is still unknown.
Nevertheless, local residents argue with the demolition and are protesting to change the government's decision. “They could be used as facilities toward (promoting) the abolition of nuclear weapons,” Iwao Nakanishi, an 89-year-old survivor of the explosion, stated. Mr. Nakanishi is the leader of a group that fights for the preservation of the aforementioned buildings. The team mentions that they can be utilized as lecture halls or art studios. "These are valuable buildings that are telling us the horror of the atomic bomb. I felt strongly after looking at them directly for the first time so I want all of them to be preserved," a 69-year-old visitor stated.