Hiroshima Out: Japan searching for a 2020 city

BBC Sports reported today that the Japanese city of Hiroshima has formally pulled out of the race to host the 2020 summer Olympics, five months after partner city Nagasaki also pulled out.

Newly elected mayor, Kazumi Matsui, informed the Japanese Olympic Committee that the city could not afford to bid for the games, the main reason being that Hiroshima was still repaying debts for the 1994 Asian Games held there.

According to Reuters, “Hiroshima initially proposed a joint “peace bid” with Nagasaki in a move by the only cities to have suffered an atomic attack to promote nuclear disarmament.”  Nagasaki, however, was forced to abandon its Olympic ambitions back in January, citing a lack of funds as well.

The Japanese Olympic Committee’s last hope rests with Tokyo, which lost out to Rio de Janeiro in the final round of 2016 Summer Games bidding.  Tokyo, which is partially hoping to use the 2020 bid as an impetus to rebuild after the devastating earthquake and tsunami earlier this year.  Interestingly, in the wake of Japan’s nuclear difficulties following the quake, the plans to possibly use the games as a platform to speak about nuclear disarmament remain valid.

All bids for the 2020 Games must be submitted to the IOC by September 1st, and a winner will be selected in September 2013.  The only cities to currently have an official bid on the table are Rome and Madrid, but given the popularity of the Summer Games, this will soon change.

In fact, the head of the Japanese Olympic Committee, Yasuhiro Nakamori, let slip that “the IOC suggested that if an African candidate emerged for 2020 they would be very strong contenders.”  Africa has never hosted an Olympics before, and with Brazil opening the door for South American countries, it will be interesting to see if an African nation emerges to host the 2020 Games.  The head of the Egyptian Olympic Committee expressed an interest in submitting a proposal, but this was before the 2011 Egyptian Revolution.

Sadly during the 2010 Vancouver Games, the USOC’s Scott Blackmun stated that the US had no plans to submit a bid for 2020…but I Believe!!

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