Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the victims of the only atomic bombings in history, are teaming up to try to bring the Olympics to Japan in 2020, the cities’ mayors said Sunday.
Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba and Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue told a press conference they will establish a joint committee to work on a proposal based on world peace.
Both men are founding members of the Mayors for Peace 2020 Vision Campaign, which advocates for a global ban on nuclear arms. In a speech last month in Mexico City, Akiba said he firmly believed the world could abolish nuclear weapons by 2020 and suggested holding the Olympics that year in Hiroshima and Nagasaki to celebrate.
The Olympics announcement comes a little more than a week after Tokyo lost its bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, which will be in Rio de Janeiro.
Tokyo organizers have not said whether they plan to try again. Only one city per country is allowed to submit a bid.
Other cities that have expressed interest in the 2020 Olympics include Istanbul, Budapest and Delhi. A host city is expected to be named in 2013.
Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara made headlines last week when he blamed his city’s failure on behind-the-scenes deals, saying Japanese sports officials must become more adept in maneuvering the inner workings of the International Olympic Committee. Officials from Rio’s bid described Ishihara’s comments as “inappropriate.”
Tokyo spent 15 billion yen ($166 million) promoting itself for the games.
Hiroshima was the site of the world’s first atomic bombing on Aug. 6, 1945. The city was instantly flattened, and an estimated 140,000 people were killed or died within months after the American bomber Enola Gay dropped its deadly payload in the waning days of World War II.
Three days later, the U.S. dropped a plutonium bomb on the port city of Nagasaki, killing about 80,000. Japan surrendered on Aug. 15.