TOKYO – Athletes and officials participating in the Tokyo Olympics will not be asked to observe a moment of silence on the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the games organizing committee said Sunday.
The Hiroshima city government and an advocacy group for “hibakusha,” or survivors of the 1945 attack by the United States, had called on the International Olympic Committee to organize a moment of remembrance at 8:15 a.m. on Aug. 6, the exact time the bomb dropped.
According to the IOC, the closing ceremony on Aug. 8 will include a segment looking back on tragic events in history and lives lost.
People who were killed in Hiroshima can be remembered there, an official at the organizing committee said, while adding that the segment will not target victims of any single incident.
The Hiroshima city government had sent a written request to IOC President Thomas Bach to ask athletes and staff to observe a moment of silence and participate in an annual ceremony marking the bombing “in spirit.”
Bach visited the city on July 16, a week before the opening of the Olympics, and called for global solidarity in building a more peaceful future.
His one-day trip coincided with the starting day of an Olympic truce, an idea dating back to ancient Greece and restored by the United Nations in 1993, which seeks a worldwide cease-fire during the games.
According to a Hiroshima official, the IOC has not responded to the city’s request for the 76th anniversary day.
The Hiroshima branch of the Japan Confederation of A- and H- Bomb Sufferers Organizations had also sent Bach a similar request, while a petition on Change.org by former mayor Tadatoshi Akiba has more than 16,000 supporters for the idea of observing a minute of silence on Friday at 8:15 a.m. with participants of the games.
“I wanted them to take just a bit of time. What did Mr. Bach visit Hiroshima for? We feel betrayed,” said Toshiyuki Mimaki, 79, acting chair of the branch of the confederation, also known as Nihon Hidankyo.