Hiroshima, Nagasaki set to bid for 2020 Olympics

TOKYO: The Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki said they were considering bidding for the 2020 Summer Olympics in tandem with a campaign to promote a nuclear-free world.

The two cities, which were rebuilt from the devastation of US atomic bombings in the closing days of World War II, said they would set up a committee to study the possibility of a joint bid.

Hiroshima mayor Tadatoshi Akiba, an advocate of nuclear disarmament who has called for the world to be free of atomic weapons by 2020, has previously said he wants the city to host the Olympics in the name of world peace.

“We are aiming for the abolition of nuclear weapons in 2020. If we are engaged in Olympic bidding activities in parallel, it is expected to produce a synergetic effect,” Akiba said. Nagasaki mayor Tomihisa Taue said surprise award of the Nobel Peace Prize to US President Barack Obama, for his advocacy of a nuclear-free world, had accelerated the trend toward the abolition of nuclear arms.

Hiroshima, which hosted the 1994 Asian Games, and Nagasaki are around 300 kilometres apart. The IOC is due to announce the 2020 host city in 2013. Japan have already hosted three Olympics — the 1964 Summer Games in Tokyo as well as the 1972 and 1998 Winter Games in Sapporo and Nagano.

Rome and Venice are reportedly preparing to host the 2020 Summer Olympics. Other cities including Cape Town, Durban, Dubai and Rabat have also been mentioned as possible candidates.