Friday marks the 76th anniversary of the United States dropping an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The anniversary coincides with the Tokyo Olympics, but organizers of the games refuse to honor the victims of the massacre.
Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui sent a letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to hold a moment of silence at 8:15 am on Friday, the time that the bomb was dropped, but the request was denied.
The letter read: “We want athletes and related officials to somehow understand the reality of atomic bombs. Could you please call on them to join in spirit the Peace Memorial Ceremony held in Hiroshima by offering a silent prayer at the Olympic Village or wherever they are?”
The IOC denial came after the organization’s president, Thomas Bach, visited memorial sites in Hiroshima in July. “I wanted them to take just a bit of time. What did Mr. Bach visit Hiroshima for? We feel betrayed,” said Toshiyuki Mimaki, a 79-year-old of Nihon Hidankyo, an organization of A-bomb survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Explaining its denial of the request, the IOC said it made a decision not to call on athletes or officials to hold a moment of silence. The closing ceremony of the Olympics scheduled for August 8th will have a segment commemorating victims of historical tragedies. The IOC said the Hiroshima bombing could be remembered during the closing ceremony but added that the segment would not be about victims of any single incident.
The real death toll of the US bombing of Hiroshima will never be known, but estimates put the number at about 140,000. The estimated population of the city at the time the A-bomb was dropped was approximately 255,000. Nagasaki was bombed a few days later, on August 9th, where an estimated 70,000 people were killed.