IOC President Thomas Bach is facing calls to cancel his planned visit to Hiroshima ©Getty Images

Governments in Hiroshima have been urged by a civic group in the region to cancel International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach's planned visit to the city later this week.

According to Kyodo News, the group has filed a complaint with the Governments in the Prefecture after raising concern that he is using the city, devastated by an atomic bomb in the final year of the Second World War, for political reasons.

Bach's visit, scheduled for Friday (July 16), is thought to be aimed at promoting peace prior to the contentious staging of the delayed Olympic Games, which open here next week.

In a written statement reported by Kyodo, the group said his attempt "dishonoured" survivors of the wartime bombing of the city by the United States in 1945.

IOC vice-president John Coates is due to travel to Nagasaki, the other Japanese city subjected to a nuclear bomb by the US, on the same day as Bach's Hiroshima visit.

Bach's arrival in Japan last week was met with the hashtag "Bach Go Home" on Twitter, while a small group of protestors opposing the Games held up signs including phrases such as "get out Bach" outside the IOC's five-star hotel in the capital.

Another sign read: "Don't go to Hiroshima."

The IOC President is due to visit Hiroshima on Friday ©Getty Images
The IOC President is due to visit Hiroshima on Friday ©Getty Images

The IOC and Bach have faced criticism in Japan for pressing ahead with organising the Games during the COVID-19 pandemic, with medical experts warning the event could become a "super-spreader" of the virus.

Shigeru Omi, the Japanese Government’s top COVID-19 advisor, has claimed staging the Olympics amid the pandemic is "abnormal".

The Japanese Government confirmed last week that spectators would be banned from all events in Tokyo after a fresh state of emergency, which came into force yesterday, was declared in response to a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Several Prefectures have since followed suit in barring spectators from venues, and only 26 competition sessions at Tokyo 2020 are due to take place in front of fans.

The civic group has also expressed concern over Bach travelling from Tokyo to Hiroshima, more than 800 kilometres from the capital, when the Olympic and Paralympic host city is under a state of emergency.

A petition from a separate group calling for Bach's visit to Hiroshima has been signed by around 15,000 people.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics, pushed back to this year because of the COVID-19 crisis, are due to run from July 23 to August 8.

insidethegames has contacted the IOC for comment.