by Harunobu Tsutusi, Taiki Yomura, and Akira Sakamoto, Staff Writers

A-bomb survivors in Hiroshima show disappointment: “I feel betrayed”

by Harunobu Tsutusi, Taiki Yomura, and Akira Sakamoto, Staff Writers

On August 1, when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) revealed its policy of not calling for observing a moment of silence on the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima during the Tokyo Olympic Games, a sense of disappointment spread among A-bomb survivors in Hiroshima.

At the end of July, the Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organizations, chaired by Sunao Tsuboi, requested the IOC call for observing a moment of silence on August 6. Toshiyuki Mimaki, vice chair of the organization, said, "The event could be an opportunity to get people around the world to know about August 6. It's a pity. As the IOC President Thomas Bach toured the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, and I believed he had some understanding of the A-bombed city of Hiroshima, I feel betrayed." Tetsuo Kaneko, a representative committee member for the Hiroshima Congress Against A- and H-Bombs, which also made a similar request to the IOC, said, "If our request had been fulfilled, the Olympic Games could demonstrate their position as a festival of peace. We have made the request of calling for offering a silent prayer with our emotion toward all victims of wars. We hoped the IOC would carry out our request."

The Peace Promotion Division of the Hiroshima City government said, "We hoped people would offer a silent prayer at their respective locations, like the Olympic Village, and participate in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony in their minds. We are sorry about the news, though we haven't received the official reply yet."

Former Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba, who has collected more than 16,000 signatures on the internet, expressed his intent to continue his signature-collection campaign, saying, " The Olympics, presenting themselves as a festival of peace, are denying their own raison d'etre. If public opinion gathers momentum, it should be able to reverse the decision."

(Originally published on August 2, 2021)