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Exhibition hall lending out items related to H-bombed Daigo Fukuryu Maru boat for peace

In this photo provided by the Daigo Fukuryu Maru Peace Association, the Daigo Fukuryu Maru tuna fishing boat is displayed at the Daigo Fukuryu Maru Exhibition Hall in Tokyo's Koto Ward.

TOKYO -- The Daigo Fukuryu Maru Exhibition Hall will be lending out items related to the tuna fishing boat "Daigo Fukuryu Maru" (Lucky Dragon No. 5), irradiated in a 1954 U.S. hydrogen bomb test, to promote thought about peace and nuclear weapons.

The exhibition hall in Tokyo's Koto Ward temporarily closed its doors on July 1 for renovations, and is calling on municipalities and citizens' groups across the country to hold exhibitions of the hall's resources.

Hall head curator Kazuya Yasuda, 65, said, "Through lending out items and dispatching curators while the hall is closed, I would like to engage in activities that make people question what happened to the Daigo Fukuryu Maru."

The items available on loan include photos of the Daigo Fukuryu Maru boat and damage from atomic and hydrogen bombs around the world, a Geiger counter from the time of the nuclear test and a tuna scale contaminated with radioactive materials. If required, the hall will dispatch one of its curators to go to an exhibition of the pieces and provide explanations. Exhibitions have already been decided for August in municipalities like Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, and the city of Kochi.

After the Daigo Fukuryu Maru was exposed to radiation in the area around the hydrogen bomb test on the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, it became a training vessel for the current Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology before being retired in 1967. It was left in a garbage disposal area on Tokyo's Yumenoshima Island, but a movement to preserve the ship picked up momentum, and the exhibition hall opened in June 1976.

The Daigo Fukuryu Maru Exhibition Hall is set to reopen in April 2019 after renovations are completed, and a third of the items from the regular display will be switched out for new content. While the inside of the Daigo Fukuryu Maru is not open to the public, an image of its interior taken with a 360-degree camera as well as video testimony of one of the fisherman, 84-year-old Matashichi Oishi of Tokyo's Ota Ward, will join the exhibition lineup. New explanations of the displays in English, Chinese and Korean will also be added.

For inquiries, call the exhibition hall at 03-3521-8494 (in Japanese).

(Japanese original by Riki Iwama, Science & Environment News Department)

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