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On Holiday in Hiroshima

30th January 2015


Kees Beentjes, Asset Management Specialist at SPM Assets, provided a different perspective of a holiday in Japan. Over the New Year, Kees travelled to Hiroshima which he describes as an opportunity to reflect on issues bigger than oneself, and a chance to travel on the bullet train.

When a dustman travels he notices garbage bins and waste trucks (Didn’t see a single wheelie bin in Japan). When a metal recycler travels he notices the state and size of scrap yards (they are tidy and compact). When an infrastructure engineer travels, he notices drains (The smell after rain makes me suspect combined sewage/stormwater). When an Asset Management Specialist travels, well, we notice other things.


This photo shows the “A-bomb dome”. The old Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion hall. In 1945 it had a distinctive green dome and sat beside an equally distinctive T shaped bridge. These were in fact the target. It was 160m from the hypocentre of the atomic bomb when it was dropped at 8.15am, August 6 1945. 

The metal dome vapourised, all but one person, who happened to be in the basement at the time, died instantly. The building that remains now, in the photo above, was all that remained at 8.16am August 6 1945. The people of Hiroshima have a wish to retain these ruins forever, to “help convey the truth about this tragedy and build a peaceful world free from nuclear weapons”.

We believe in “making buildings last forever” and here is a clear extrapolation of this intent. Putting this into effect is sometimes daunting, but as an Asset Management Consultant on holiday I had to admire the Japanese effort.

Hiroshima 2a

This photo shows the A-bomb dome as it appeared New Year’s day 2015. Scaffolded, protected and even partially shored (the portal indicated by the arrow). How inconvenient for a tourist to see this meaningful structured veiled. Yet information signs around the structure explain why.


Note the apology for the only thing worth apologising for. Not for undertaking work to retain this ruin forever, but for temporarily ruining the view. I like that asset management thinking.




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