International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach is slated to visit Hiroshima on Friday. But the trip, which is officially being made to send a message of peace, has instead stirred controversy amid the pandemic and raised questions about its true purpose.

Bach will make a one-day trip from COVID-19 hot spot Tokyo to Hiroshima — where daily coronavirus cases have numbered fewer than a dozen in recent weeks — to visit the Hiroshima Peace Park, which commemorates the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of the city. The same day, John Coates, who heads the IOC's Coordination Commission for the Tokyo Games, will visit the Nagasaki Peace Park.

Local government leaders are welcoming the move, with Hiroshima Gov. Hidehiko Yuzaki saying that he wants Bach to send a powerful message toward realizing a world without nuclear weapons.