2020 Olympic stadium may be downsized 25% amid criticism


Tokyo’s new National Stadium for the 2020 Olympics could be scaled down by 70,000-sq. meters, or approximately 25 percent, the facility’s operators said Tuesday.

The Japan Sport Council, which runs the venue, held a meeting with experts from various fields to review the original plan, which has come under fire over the design and bloated budget for the mega-stadium to replace the one built for Tokyo’s last Games in 1964.

The JSC proposed reducing the planned 290,000-sq.-meter premises to 220,000-sq. meters, including making a smaller stadium and paring adjacent facilities, among them a proposed museum and business space.

Capacity will remain at 80,000, and the retractable roof, which was being reconsidered, is also expected to stay after it was deemed necessary to accommodate nonsporting events by a number of people at the meeting, including Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda.

“Absolutely, we need the roof to meet all weather conditions,” Takeda said.

Renowned composer Shunichi Tokura chimed in, saying, “In any given year, there are only a handful of sporting events that draw close to 80,000 people, but there will be a lot more opportunities of that size when it comes to the arts.

“A retractable roof is a must.”

According to the JSC, the planned roof alone is expected to cost anywhere from ¥10 billion to ¥15 billion.

As it stands, the overall budget is set at ¥185.2 billion. The replacement for the current stadium, which seats 54,000, is expected to be ready by March 2019 ahead of the Rugby World Cup that year and possibly the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

“We should be able to reduce costs by giving the plan a finer review,” said architect Tadao Ando, who chaired the panel that judged the design competition for the new stadium that was won by British firm Zaha Hadid Architects.

  • Jeffrey

    Okay. Next step is to admit that you don’t need a stadium that size, one that will go largely unused as T&F are not big in Japan or Asia in general, and that simply up-grading the existing facility is the prudent thing to do. The roof is unnecessary as it rarely snows in Tokyo (and no one runs track in the winter anyway), and if the facility is to be used for football, it’s played in all weather.