The mayors of the atomic-bombed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have announced their desire to invite the 2020 Summer Olympics to their cities and have called on the central government and the Japan Olympic Committee for support. Mayors Tadatoshi Akiba of Hiroshima and Tomihisa Taue of Nagasaki put forward the idea just a week after Tokyo was beaten by Rio de Janeiro in its bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games.
The two mayors think that jointly hosting the Summer Games in their cities will fit in with the International Olympic Committee’s spirit of pushing for the creation of a peaceful society, as well as move world opinion toward the abolition of nuclear weapons. Having the Olympic Games in the two cities could deliver a clear message that strikes a chord with people the world over.
Mr. Akiba and Mr. Taue apparently took encouragement from the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s decision to award the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to U.S. President Barack Obama for his “vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.” Mayors for Peace, a network of 3,147 mayors from 134 countries and regions, headed by Mr. Akiba, also has as its goal the abolition of nuclear weapons by 2020.
But IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli said: “The Olympic Charter clearly states only one city can host the Olympics. It does not allow two cities to cohost the Games.” The IOC may also fear that if the Olympics are held in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Games, primarily a sports event, would be overshadowed by a political theme.
It appears that the two mayors may have launched their campaign without much coordination with the assemblies of their cities or the Hiroshima and Nagasaki prefectural governments. Hosting the Olympics would cost both cities a lot of money for construction of Games venues and necessary infrastructure. Great political skill will also be required if Hiroshima and Nagasaki are to pull off a successful campaign, as these days the Olympics are highly commercialized.
Staying aloof from the Games is a valid option. It will not impair the two cities’ efforts toward their higher political ideal.
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