Olympic Stadium Saga Continues: Cost Cuts Confirmed and New Deadline Imposed

There have been a series of controversies surrounding the new national stadium, which is set to be the focal point of Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic Games, and now the latest news has arrived.

Senior government officials have said that the cost of the stadium’s construction will be cut from an estimated $2.1 billion to around $1.3 billion, but haven’t been able to guarantee that they’ll be able to complete an International Olympic Committee deadline to have the construction completed in time.

For those that haven’t been keeping up to date, the stadium has had a series of criticisms about everything from the architects’ designs and cost blow-outs to expanding construction timelines and key bureaucrat resignations.

Since the original plans for the stadium were scrapped in mid-July, Reuters is now reporting that lawmakers and officials have confirmed that the construction will continue with a plan to house about 68,000 people, but they have said that its capacity will be expanded to 80,000 spectators if Japan ends up hosting the World Cup soccer finals.

There are still some finer details to be smoothed over, such as whether or not the stadium should include air-conditioning systems, which could make a difference of up to $82.7 million to the bottom line, pending that decision.

Amidst the conversations about cutting costs and re-negotiating construction plans, there has also been a push from a top IOC official for Japan to have the construction of the stadium completed by January 2020, which is three months earlier than originally expected (The Guardian). Japan’s Olympics Minister, Toshiaki Endo, has indicated that this deadline may, in fact, not be possible to meet.

According to The Guardian, IOC vice-president John Coates said that the reason for the earlier deadline is to make the space available for a series of tests, ceremonies and rehearsals.

The Guardian quoted Endo as saying “It was going to be April on a very tight schedule. I cannot easily say yes to January 2020. I can only ask contractors to finish the construction as quickly as possible. We have no idea if it’s doable.”

Toshiaki Endo will lead a meeting with other relevant lawmakers on Friday to finalize the next steps and make decisions about the new construction plans.

—Chris Zajko

Image: The Guardian

 

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