Cost of building new National Stadium to be cut

Kyodo

The education and sports ministry is working on slashing the cost of replacing National Stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and projected facilities surrounding it to ¥180 billion, sources said Friday.

The ministry had originally calculated the project’s cost at as much as ¥300 billion. The main structure of the stadium is now expected to cost ¥150 billion, rather than the initial figure of ¥130 billion, but accompanying costs are to be reduced.

The ministry wants to simplify various aspects of work on the stadium and try to reduce costs on building materials. It will stick with the basic concept, including a retractable roof.

“If it gets any lower than this figure (of ¥180 billion), then it would be impossible to fulfill the required conditions,” a source said.

The capacity of the current National Stadium, built for the 1964 Olympics, is 54,000. The venue does not meet modern standards required to hold a large-scale international sporting event.

The new stadium is planned to seating for 80,000 people and is to be finished by March 2019.

Meanwhile, a group of around 100 people led by architect Fumihiko Maki filed a petition Thursday with the government to review and scale back the plans for the stadium.

The initiative, co-sponsored by art critic Shuji Takashina, political scientist Takashi Mikuriya, anthropologist Shinichi Nakazawa and others, says the design could spoil the landscape in the Meiji Jingu Gaien area, a major green space.

“Given a total floor space double to triple the past main Olympics venues such as London and Athens, we are also concerned about its costs for safety, maintenance and management,” says the petition presented to the sports ministry and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

The group, consisting chiefly of architects, is calling on government leaders to scale down the stadium so it would be more appropriate for an aging society with a declining population and urged them to fully explain the project to the nation.

The group is requesting that the capacity be reduced from the planned 80,000 permanent seats to a combination of around 50,000 permanent seats and temporary seating.

The winning design for the new stadium came from British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid and was chosen through an international competition.

It will be built on a 113,000-sq.-meter site, about 1.6 times larger than the current stadium site, and will have a total floor space of 290,000 sq. meters, about 5.6 times larger than the existing structure.