Part 3 Rescue and Medical Relief
Section 1 Emergency Measures
Chapter 4：Restoration of Facilities
The “9th Report on Damage due to the Nagasaki Air Raid of August 9,” the prefecture governor’s report as of August 20, 1945, outlined the situation regarding the restoration of facilities as follows:
4. Emergency Restoration of Various Types of Facilities
Regarding emergency facility restoration, as already reported, heads of related important organizations and emergency task forces were assembled on August 10 and 12 to launch restoration projects. Nagasaki Prefecture cooperated in labor, materials and transportation, and construction work is progressing steadily. Aiming at immediate restoration, the prefectural government held a related division and section chief meeting daily at 8:30 p.m. to examine the progress of construction, decide on preparations for operations and cooperation and implement decisions one by one. Restoration of the railroad, electric lighting and power facilities is almost complete. While means of communication for the military, government and municipal offices and some other important facilities have been restored, telephone links to outside the city are cut off, and current emphasis has been placed on their restoration.
The affected factories had to change or suspend production due to the sudden downturn in the war situation. Some factories sustained damage to such a degree that they are difficult to restore, and work on their restoration has yet to commence.
As indicated in the above report, emergency construction work was commenced in the attempt to restore important facilities and infrastructure, including railroads, electric power and communication.
As for telephone communication, sections of the military telephone line were restored as early as 3:00 p.m. on the day of the atomic bombing. By 10:00 p.m., telephone lines for the use of the military and nine main government offices were completely restored in accordance with the emergency restoration order from the military police regarding the disconnection immediately after the atomic bombing.
The next order was to begin by restoring toll lines in order for the military to exchange information regarding military operations. In response to this order, workers in the telecommunications industry labored day and night in order to restore service as quickly as possible. Some of them did not even notice that the war had ended. In order to speed up the restoration work, the army telecommunication unit assisted the effort for several days.
By August 21, the telephone lines of 559 important subscribers had been restored.
The recovery status of electric lighting and power lines can be summarized as follows:
August 10: With the assistance of army unit (signal brigade) infantry companies, some of the electric cables for transmission of air-raid alerts were restored first. At 6:00 p.m., electric lighting was restored in the southern areas of Nagasaki City.
August 11: Reinforcement units from the Kyūshū Electric Distribution Co. Fukuoka and Saga branches arrived and restored the electric cables at the NHK Nagasaki Broadcasting Station. Lighting was restored in the central area of the city by evening.
August 13: Electric power supply reached the opposite bank of the river.
August 14: Power supply extended to all areas of Nagasaki City and lighting was restored except in the devastated areas.
September 5: Electricity was restored in all affected areas, including neighboring towns and villages.
Persons called out for power restoration work numbered 4,021, including reinforcement units from among the army units (August 10–13) arriving from Fukuoka and Saga prefectures.
Railroad restoration work commenced several hours after the atomic bombing with repairs to the tracks between Shōenji-shita Station (present-day Shimizu-machi) and the crossing in present-day Nishi-machi to provide relief train services (although over a short section). These train services made it possible for the second relief train to move southward, reaching points closer to the hypocenter and picking up many of the injured.
Full-fledged recovery work commenced from the following day (August 10) with the cooperation of workers handling track maintenance and power supply south of the Tosu area (Saga Prefecture). The restoration of damaged tracks, ties and signals in the section including Ōhashi rail bridge, Urakami Railroad Station and Nagasaki Railroad Station was almost complete by August 11. Train services returned to normal on August 11, with the last train leaving Nagasaki Railroad Station at 10:15 p.m.
The above information comes from the 8th Nagasaki Atomic Bombing Damage Report issued on August 14. According to the 10th report issued on August 27, however, “The restoration of railroad facilities commenced immediately after the disaster. Restoration of tracks between Nagasaki Railroad Station and Michino’o Railroad Station was complete by August 12, and train services recommenced. Temporary offices were also opened in the stations at Nagasaki and Urakami the same day, and train services returned to normal. However, restoration work on facilities on the station premises and some track repairs continue.” This information indicates that the 8th report was incorrect and that train services returned to normal from August 12.
However, whether train services actually returned to normal, as described in these reports, remains unclear.
According to a pamphlet published by the National Railroad Workers Union Nagasaki Branch regarding train service on the day of the atomic bombing, “A train was driven backwards to Nagasaki on a trial run on August 12, but train services were suspended during the subsequent week-long restoration of tracks. On August 12, train service to Nagasaki Railroad Station was provided only once.” The pamphlet includes another quotation regarding the resumption of train service on the Nagasaki main line: “I think that train services between Nagasaki and Michino’o resumed with the train leaving Nagasaki Railroad Station at 10:10 a.m. (train No. 328) to Moji Port on August 12. The number of trains provided afterwards is said to have been two to five daily.” 47 This information indicates that train services were irregular.
From August 12, measures were taken to give atomic bomb victims priority in the issuance of tickets free of charge at the temporary offices of Nagasaki and Urakami railroad stations.
Sakata Kazuo, who worked at Michino’o Railroad Station at the time, describes the situation in the above-mentioned pamphlet and states that the train tracks were restored by August 14 or 15 and that trains became available to passengers from the 16th.
Police Captain Imamura Yoshio of the Police Department Security Section and Police Sergeant Watanabe Harutoshi of the Police Department Air-defense Section were ordered to submit field reports to the Ministry of Home Affairs Police Bureau. They left Nagasaki Railroad Station for Tōkyō around noon on August 12. Needless to say, there was no direct train to Tōkyō. The two had to change trains repeatedly before arriving in Tōkyō at 8:00 a.m. on August 15, the day the war ended.
2) Electric Tramways
The restoration of tram service took a long time. The sections from/to Hotarujaya, Nishihamanomachi and Nagasaki Ekimae, which comprised the central line, were not reopened until November 25, 1945. The restoration was greatly hampered by damage to facilities, including a substation in Funagura-machi that was used to change alternating current into direct current.
In the hypocenter zone, the sections between Nagasaki Ekimae and Urakami Ekimae were reopened, with route changes, in early February 1946. The sections between Urakami Ekimae and Ōhashi were reopened, with route changes, in late May 1947.
3) Marine Transportation
The following article published in the September 14, 1945 issue of Nagasaki Shimbun sheds light on the situation after the atomic bombing:
The coastal route, which was entirely out of service for some time, has gradually returned to normal with Kyūshū Merchant Marine’s Nagafuku-maru (between Nagasaki and Gotō); Taishō-maru and Sasebo-maru (between Nagasaki and Sasebo); and Shinkō Steamship Company’s Unyu-maru (between Nagasaki and Shikimi) going to sea when the weather permits. Even for a 100-ton class marine ship, applications for the transportation of civilian goods can be submitted to the General Maritime Bureau, and the routes will become available after negotiations with the Allied Occupation Forces. The Amakusa service between Mogi and Tomioka, the Yugao-maru service between Nagasaki and Takashima, and the service between Nagasaki and Iki and Tsushima islands are being hastily restored. It will not take long before the entire coastal network is restored.
In the meantime there is no choice but to use sailing vessels with auxiliary engines. The biggest problems facing marine transportation are the procurement of fuel and the enlistment of personnel from among repatriated sailors.
The city ferries, one of Nagasaki’s principal means of transportation, began service from Ōhato to Asahi-machi hourly and to Tategami and Tomachi several times daily. Special measures have been taken to restore the Mizunoura line in a few days. Although the problem of fuel remains acute, efforts must be made for the time being to repair nighttime lighting and docks.
The September 14, 1945 issue of Nagasaki Shimbun also includes the following information on bus service: “Although buses connecting Nagasaki City, Isahaya, Obama, Unzen, Kuchinotsu and other outlying rural communities have operated only twice daily since the atomic bombing, bus service will be restored to every two hours in a few days. The Nagasaki Prefecture Automobile Bureau will be able to secure bus drivers and fuel, but the lack of tire and instrument production in the locality remain the bureau’s only unsolvable problem and may become a serious obstacle unless it is promptly resolved. In addition, roads must be repaired quickly.”
Restoration work on part of the gas supply system was completed on June 10, 1946 and the gas supply to 760 households resumed.
The atomic bomb destroyed not only above-ground facilities but also underground water pipes. In the hypocenter district in the direction of the Matsuyama area, where many places were flooded, underground pipes were severed in numerous places. Outside the hypocenter area, water leakage was extensive because of numerous loose joints. The damage affected 60% of the water supply district.
For these reasons, Nagasaki City attempted to restore continuous water supply first by repairing Urakami Dam, where a water purification plant had burned, and by taking various other measures including the repair of water distribution pipes and water meters, as stated in the table below. In addition, since the water supply had been tested beyond its limits by the catastrophic fires on the day of the atomic bombing, mud mixed with sand from the filter basin lowered the filtering water pressure, making it necessary to thoroughly clean the filter basin.
|Civil works||Fiscal 1946||Fiscal 1947||Fiscal 1948|
|Prevention of water leaks in water supply pipes||19,600||344,000||675||37,000||(Yen)|
|Prevention of water leaks in distributing water pipes||3,120||302,000||650||128,000|
|Restoration of water purification and water supply facilities||343,000||89,500|
|Laying and dismantling of water distribution pipes||Laying 675 m||118,000||Laying 670 m||349,000|
|Dismantling 711 m||237,000|
|Repair of water meters||2,600||527,500||1,000||314,000|
NHK Nagasaki Broadcasting Station
Power lines to the NHK Nagasaki Broadcasting Station were restored on August 11, as described previously. On the 13th, at the request of technology section employee Matsuo Matsuyoshi, a Mitsubishi Nagasaki Shipyard worker in charge of the electric system resumed broadcasting in the evening after setting up a spare antenna with the cooperation of the Kyūshū Electric Distribution Co. and military units. On that day, the trunk line connecting the station with Fukuoka was restored. Although the NHK Nagasaki Broadcasting Station resumed broadcasts simultaneously with the restoration of its antenna, the exact details and time of the first broadcast remain unknown.
47 National Railroad Workers Union Nagasaki Branch ed., Kono ikari wo (Venting this Rage), Pamphlet on the 50th Anniversary of the Atomic Bombing, 1995, pp.20-3 ^