January 8 - Hiroshima and Nagasaki are refusing to drop plans to try to launch a bid for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, even though both the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have made it clear they will not support it.

JOC President Tsunekazu Takeda told the Mayors of the two cities last month that, under the rules of the Olympic Charter, a joint bid was not possible and therefore they could not back it.

Gilbert Felli, the IOC's Executive Director of the Olympics, had already said that the bid would not be possible.

But Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba (pictured) and Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue plan to meet next week with former IOC vice-president Chiharu Igaya to seek his support for their bid.

Akiba said at a press conference today one option is to have Hiroshima apply to be the host city with Nagasaki holding some events.

He said: "There are various options.

"We'd like to organise some event aimed at achieving the major goal of nuclear disarmament by 2020."

Taue said: "We'd like to discuss how to launch a campaign with the Hiroshima Municipal Government."

Hiroshima and Nagasaki are approximately 295 kilometers (183 miles) apart.

Nagasaki is on Japan's southern island of Kyushu while Hiroshima is on the main island of Honshu.

Both cities were the victims of atomic attacks by the United States in 1945.

Tokyo are also interested in bidding again, despite being beaten by Rio de Janeiro to host the 2016 Olympics, and have suggested that Hiroshima and Nagasaki could host football matches if there bid for 2020 were successful.

But Takeda has not ruled out the JOC backing a solo bid from Hiroshima, which hosted the 1994 Asian Games.

He said: "We don't have to urgently select the city to bid for the Olympics and file an application with the International Olympic Committee, but if either of the two cities intends to bid on its own, it should declare its candidacy at an early date."

Related stories
December 2009:
 Japan rejects Hiroshima-Nagasaki 2020 joint Olympic bid
November 2009: Hiroshima and Nagasaki form panel to investigate joint bid for 2020 Olympics
October 2009: David Owen - An Olympics in Hiroshima would be a stunning and wonderful idea
October 2009:  Hiroshima, Nagasaki Consider Joint Bid for 2020 Olympic Games