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Smartphone app to show visitors pre-bombing images of Hiroshima

The Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, before it was destroyed by the atomic bomb and was turned into what is known today as the Atomic Bomb Dome. (Photo courtesy of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum)
The Atomic Bomb Dome is pictured in Hiroshima's Naka Ward. (Mainichi)

HIROSHIMA -- City authorities here are planning to release a smartphone app with which tourists can view pictures of the Atomic Bomb Dome and other landmark buildings from before and after the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima, it has been announced.

The move is part of the city of Hiroshima's initiative to promote "Peace Tourism" among foreign travelers, as their numbers are expected to rise following then U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Hiroshima in May last year. The city is planning to bring the smartphone app into operation by Aug. 6 -- the 72nd anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city.

According to the Hiroshima Municipal Government, the app will be designed to take visitors along a peace trail, starting from the A-bomb Dome and leading to other bombing-related spots such as the former Bank of Japan Hiroshima branch and the Fukuromachi Elementary School Peace Museum. If visitors hold up their smartphones or tablets in front of the affected structures, the app will show the pictures of them before and after the nuclear devastation together with explanations in English.

The city has earmarked 9.5 million yen in its fiscal 2017 budget draft to develop the app and improve Wi-Fi connections in areas to be covered by the project.

The number of foreign visitors to Hiroshima reached a record 1.03 million in 2015, but nearly half of them was on a one-day trip to the city.

"We'd like visitors to deeply learn the realities of damage caused by the atomic bombing and stay in Hiroshima longer to do sightseeing," said a city official in charge of the project.

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