3 Reconstruction Planning
The atomic-bombing completely destroyed the city, including buildings as well as the public infrastructure, such as transportation and communication facilities and water and sewage systems. The reconstruction of Hiroshima City first began with development of urban infrastructure under the national government’s war-damage reconstruction project as one of the 115 war-damaged cities in Japan. The citizens of Hiroshima City worked hard on emergency infrastructure restoration from the catastrophic damage, formulated reconstruction plans, and implemented reconstruction projects.
With the emergency restoration of infrastructure, it is said that the trains and streetcars were among the first services restored. As a result of the hard work put into the restoration and maintenance of the network, on August 9, three days after the bombing and the day the second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki—streetcar operations partially resumed in one section. On August 8, just two days after the bombing, the Japanese National Railways Sanyo Line was also reopened between Hiroshima and Yokogawa (a station next to Hiroshima Station). The main streets were first cleared of debris, just enough to let traffic flow again, and then the surface of the streets and the parapets of the bridges were repaired.
The water-supply system was also heavily damaged. Water pumps resumed operations four days after the bombing. However, water leaked and spouted at many places in the city; and repairing the waterworks was an arduous task. It is said that it took nine months to restore the water supply to the outskirts of the city. In the meantime, ground water was hand-pumped at many places after the war. The sewage system in Hiroshima was also seriously damaged. The situation gradually improved through efforts including the emergency restoration of the drainage pumping stations and the clean-up and maintenance of the sewer pipes.
As for the city’s reconstruction plan, 34 reconstruction plans proposed by citizens, government officials, and foreign people were published at the Hiroshima City Reconstruction Council and in newspapers. It was thought that reconstruction of the city from the ruins would be nearly impossible; but the reconstruction plan pursued the highest ideals attainable at the time, with ambitious plans for roads, including 100-meter wide roads, parks, green areas, and land readjustments to secure land for infrastructure.
At that time, Hiroshima City was having financial difficulties with its budget. Citizens and those who were engaged in the reconstruction had to work hard and at times heavy burdens were imposed on citizens for the sake of reconstruction. At the same time, various forms of aid and support from overseas helped Hiroshima citizens to overcome the crisis that followed in the aftermath of the bombing.
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Hiroshima Prefectural Office
Street address:10-52, Motomachi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken, 730-8511