October 11, 2009 / 3:57 AM / 9 years ago

Hiroshima, Nagasaki eye joint 2020 Games bid

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the only cities to suffer nuclear attacks, are considering a joint bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games.

The Japanese cities, located more than 300 kilometers apart, say they want to give momentum to moves to abolish nuclear weapons.

The agreement came after Tokyo failed in its bid for the 2016 Olympics and the surprise award of the Nobel Peace Prize to U.S. President Barack Obama for giving the world “hope for a better future” and striving for nuclear disarmament.

“It is not something that should be left solely to President Obama or talks between governments,” Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue told a news conference Sunday.

“Each one of us has a role to play in this and hosting the Olympics could be one of the roles for the cities that suffered nuclear attacks. We will look into the possibility of a bid.”

Officials said they had agreed to set up a committee to examine the viability of a bid for the 2020 Games hosted jointly by Hiroshima, Nagasaki and other supporting cities.

Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba insisted that the distance between the cities would not prove an obstacle to any bid.

“It takes only 30 minutes or so to go from one city to the other by plane,” he said. “They might be far apart geographically but in terms of traveling time, they’re not that far away.”

Tokyo, the first Asian city to host an Olympics in 1964, recently lost out to Rio de Janeiro in the race to host the 2016 Games.

Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka, writing by Alastair Himmer; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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