March 26 - Hiroshima's Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba is refusing to give up on the city's proposed bid to host the 2020 Olympics even though the City Council today voted to drop the draft budget for the campaign, a decision which appears to leave the way clear for Tokyo to bid for the second consecutive Games.

Nagasaki abandoned its ambitions in January after the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) rejected a joint bid with Hiroshima.

The proposal to drop the ¥25.69 million (£1.8 million/$2.7 million) budget for formulating the basic plan, running an exploratory committee and covering other costs for hosting the Olympics from the city's fiscal 2010 budget bill was passed by Hiroshima's Special Budget Committee comprising all 54 assembly members.

"I am extremely disappointed at the decision," Akiba told a news conference.

"We’ll explore all possible avenues in order to find the best solution.

"I’m determined to keep striving to ensure Hiroshima doesn’t have to abandon its dream of hosting the Olympics."

The JOC cooperation director Yasuhiro Nakamori claimed Akiba will appeal to the city assembly against the vote.

"We will examine ways to raise funds," said Akiba, who rejected the view that the project lacked local public support.

"We have had a lot of public backing.”

The motion to reject the Olympic draft budget was submitted earlier this week by two conservative factions on the grounds of costs and citing a lack of local public support.

"It’s as if the pencil snapped in the middle of drawing a picture," JOC secretary general Noriyuki Ichihara said.

"But Hiroshima’s Olympic principle has received high praise around the world.

"The Mayor deserves credit and we would like him to continue in his efforts.”

Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the only cities to have suffered atomic attacks, had initially planned a joint bid to demonstrate their commitment to nuclear disarmament.

Tokyo, which staged Asia’s first Olympics in 1964, lost out to Rio de Janeiro in last October’s IOC vote for the 2016 Games.

Hiroshima hosted the 1994 Asian Games.

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January 2010:
 Nagasaki drops plans to bid for 2020 Olympics
January 2010: Hiroshima and Nagasaki refuse to give up on Olympic dream
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