To reduce the estimated construction cost of ¥252 billion and ease growing criticism, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday that the new National Stadium to be built for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be redesigned from scratch.

This means Japan will renege on its promise to use the venue for the 2019 Rugby World Cup because the new stadium won't be built in time, Abe said.

"I've decided to send the current plan for the new National Stadium . . . back to the drawing board," he told reporters. "I made the decision today because I'm firmly convinced that (a new stadium) will be completed by the opening of the Olympic and Paralympic Games."