By Duncan Mackay

Hiroshima DomeOctober 12 - Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the two Japanese cities attacked with atomic bombs by the United States in World War Two, are considering a joint bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games, they have announced.

Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba said: "Joint hosting is very meaningful

"We aim to abolish nuclear weapons by 2020 and want to cerebrate it by jointly hosting the Olympics, a symbol of peace."

The announcement came after Tokyo earlier this month lost its bid to host the 2016 Olympics to Rio de Janeiro.

United States President Barack Obama, a member of the unsuccessful Chicago 2016 bid, won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize last week for his "work toward a world without atomic weapons", according to Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Nobel committee.

Akiba said: "This idea is not directly motivated by President Obama’s award."

Last April the two cities unveiled the "Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol," which establishes a process for eliminating nuclear weapons by 2020.

It will work to have the protocol adopted at the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to be held in May next year.

Hiroshima was devastated in the world's first atom-bomb attack on August 6, 1945, when an estimated 80,000 people were killed and 69 per cent of the city's buildings were destroyed.

Three days later Nagasaki was struck by a plutonium bomb which left 40,000 dead.
The two western Japanese cities, nearly 200 miles apart, will call for the participation of other cities in between, such as Fukuoka, Akiba said.

No Games has been jointly held in multiple cities and is unlikely to be considered seriously by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Akiba admitted: "There's a chance it may prove impossible.

A committee will be established as soon as possible to study the feasibility of the idea and will report back by the Spring, said Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue.

Hiroshima has held a large-scale event before, hosting the 1994 Asian Games.

The competition brought 7,300 athletes from 42 countries across Asia to Western Japan.

While the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) praised the two cities for their enthusiasm, they felt that it would take far more than simply a message of world peace to be successful in their bid for the Games.

Noriyuki Ichihara, the secretary general of the JOC, said: "The concept to host the Olympics is wonderful.

"But I believe it would be difficult for the IOC to accept it just on the basis of abolishing nuclear weapons."

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