The Japan Sport Council is considering seeking donations from the public to pay for the installation of wooden seating at the main stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, informed sources said Saturday.
The current plan calls for installing plastic seats at the new National Stadium at a cost of some ¥2 billion.
If the seats are to be made of wood in order to stay true to the natural theme planned for the new stadium, the costs are expected to increase to ¥5 billion or ¥6 billion. JSC hopes to cover the gap through donations, according to the sources.
In Japan, wooden seats are used in several stadiums such as at Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium Hiroshima and the home of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp professional baseball club.
JSC may allow those who donate a certain amount inscribe their names on the backs of the seats.
If donations exceed the amount needed for wooden seats, the extra money may be used to develop other Olympic facilities or support athletes, the sources said.
Toshiaki Endo, minister for the Olympics and Paralympics, welcomed the donation plan, saying such a move will help create a greater sense of participation in the Games among citizens.
The design for the new National Stadium by architect Kengo Kuma was adopted in December after the initial design by Zaha Hadid was canceled amid criticism of high costs. Under the new plan, the costs were reduced to ¥149 billion from ¥252 billion.