by Fumiyasu Miyano, Staff Writer

Hiroshima group initiates online signature drive to oppose IOC President Bach’s visit to city

Prior to International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach’s planned visit to Hiroshima on July 16, a group of Hiroshima citizens started an online signature drive opposing his visit. The group’s members are taking a critical stance against the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games being held amid the coronavirus pandemic, insisting that the A-bombed city of Hiroshima might be taken advantage of by the IOC for its appeal that the Olympic Games are a “celebration of peace.” As of the evening of July 9, the fourth day of the campaign, 4,000 signatures had been collected.

July 16, the date of Mr. Bach’s expected visit to Hiroshima, falls on the starting day of the period specified by the “Olympic Truce Resolution,” which was adopted by the United Nations. It is also the day when the United States conducted the first nuclear test in human history 76 years ago, in 1945, at the so-called “Trinity Site” in the western U.S. state of New Mexico.

Based on these facts, the signature drive emphasizes that the holding of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games amid the coronavirus pandemic neglects the public’s health and lives and, in that way, the Olympic Games do not represent a celebration of peace. Considering the timing of Mr. Bach’s visit, the drive group stresses that the IOC’s indifference to peace is evident in its failure to even consider the significance of the date of July 16.

The signature campaign was started by a Hiroshima citizen’s volunteer group on the signature website “Change.org.” The group is calling on the Hiroshima Prefecture and Hiroshima City governments to refuse Mr. Bach’s visit, given that it is still not too late, and wants to express the desires of citizens demanding that his visit be cancelled.

(Originally published on July 10, 2021)