- The city government of Hiroshima, Japan, is asking for a moment of silence to honor the atomic bombing anniversary.
- The IOC said it would not ask athletes and staff to do so, but will commemorate the bombing in the closing ceremony.
- A petition for the moment of silence has collected more than 16,000 signatures so far.
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Olympic athletes and staff will not be asked to hold a moment of silence for the anniversary of the Hiroshima atomic bombing. Instead, it will be commemorated during the closing ceremony, said organizers on Sunday, according to Reuters.
The Hiroshima city government and an advocacy movement championed by the city's former mayor Tadatoshi Akiba have been calling for a moment of silence to be observed on Friday at 8.15 a.m., the same date and time the US dropped the bomb in 1945 during World War II.
They are voicing support for hibakusha – survivors and victims of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan and the subsequent fallout – including 22,000 Koreans working in Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the time. The Hiroshima government has long been outspoken about worldwide nuclear disarmament, and holds a Peace Ceremony every year to commemorate the loss of 140,000 lives in the attack by the US.
Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui wrote a letter dated July 28 to International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, asking that athletes and officials join in the ceremony by observing a moment of silence, reported Reuters.
An online petition for the moment of silence, started by former Hiroshima mayor Akiba, has collected more than 16,000 signatures so far.
"The silence of August 6th will surely be remembered by posterity as a memorable milestone for the active transmission of peace from the Olympic Games," wrote Akiba in the petition.
On July 16, IOC president Bach visited Hiroshima, which is considered in Japan to be something akin to sacred ground. The visit incited criticism from anti-Olympics groups, who formed a 70,000-strong petition opposing Bach's trip.
Many of them felt that visit sullied the reputation of the nuclear peace movement, as they said that the Olympics are still being held in Japan despite the nation struggling with COVID-19.
The IOC and Hiroshima city government did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.