Japan Sport Council inks ¥2.5 billion deal with Olympic stadium builders


The Japan Sport Council announced Friday it has signed a ¥2.5 billion deal with a joint venture to construct the new National Stadium, the main venue for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The government last month selected the proposal by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, general constructor Taisei Corp. and Azusa Corp. The initial design by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid was scrapped amid public outcry over the ballooning estimated costs.

The stadium, scheduled to be built by November 2019, will cost an estimated ¥149 billion in total. The JSC concluded the deal after the Taisei-led joint venture agreed to stay within budget and construction deadlines.

The JSC plans to complete the construction contract with the venture and begin building by the end of this year.

The stadium operator will start hearings with sports federations and the 2020 organizing committee next month and will incorporate their input before putting forward the basic construction plan in May. A more detailed implementation plan is to be filed by November.

When the review committee made the decision on Kuma’s design, concerns were raised about the project’s cost and organizational structure. Detailed minutes of those proceedings released Friday by the committee highlighted issues under the “universal design” section, where the suitability of the venue for elderly and disabled spectators were questioned.

Zaha Hadid Architects this month pointed out similarities between their initial design and the one selected to replace it. Those claims were subsequently denied by Kuma. JSC board member Takakuni Ikeda played down any suggestions it could affect the future construction.

“No matter how the negotiations go with ZHA, we’ll look to make sure it gets built properly,” Ikeda said.