• Kyodo

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International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach is arranging to visit atomic-bombed Hiroshima on July 16, the starting day of an Olympic truce adopted by the United Nations, sources close to the matter have said.

The arrangements for his visit are being made after Bach conveyed his intention to concerned parties. A plan for IOC Vice President John Coates to visit Nagasaki on the same day is also being considered, the sources said Saturday.

With the planned visit to the two atomic-bombed cities, the two IOC leaders are likely to call for promoting peace, a pillar of the Olympic movement, at a time when some question the sensibility of holding the international sports event amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In the closing days of World War II, the United States dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, and the second on Nagasaki three days later, killing an estimated 210,000 people by the end of that year. The war came to an end when Japan surrendered on Aug. 15.

Bach, who has expressed his wish in the past to visit Hiroshima, is expected to arrive in Japan around July 9 and begin his activities, with some restrictions, a few days later.

His trip to Japan was previously scheduled for May to participate in a torch relay event in Hiroshima Prefecture but was postponed partly because Tokyo was under a COVID-19 state of emergency.

Coates has already arrived in the country for the Tokyo Olympics, slated to be held from July 23 to Aug. 8, followed by the Paralympic Games between Aug. 24 and Sept. 5.

The truce resolution was adopted in December 2019 by the U.N. General Assembly in a gesture intended to promote world peace. The period subject to the resolution was later shifted by one year from July 16 to Sept. 12 in line with the postponement of the Tokyo Games.

The resolution, which mentions the massive support Japan received from the international community in the wake of the devastating March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, aims to deliver a message of peace.

An Olympic truce resolution was first adopted at the United Nations the year before the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway, based on a proposal by the IOC.

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