• Kyodo


The central government plans to privatize the National Stadium to be built for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after the sports event ends, hoping to reduce the running costs it would have to pay, government sources said Tuesday.

The idea was included in the outline of the government’s soon-to-be endorsed basic stance on the main Olympics stadium, whose initial design plan was scrapped amid rising public criticism over the swelling costs that have doubled to ¥252 billion from the original estimate.

The outline does not include a ceiling for the total construction costs of the new stadium but says that stadium equipment should be limited “in principle” to that linked to sports to prevent building costs from ballooning, the sources said.

The term “in principle” indicates the government has left room for the structure to be used for nonsports events in the future when a private company takes over the stadium management and wants to hold events other than sports contests, such as concerts.

The outline will be endorsed on Friday at a meeting of Cabinet ministers involved in the issue as well as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the sources said.

The ceiling for the total construction costs is expected to be incorporated in another plan on the stadium to be compiled later this month. Many officials in the government believe that the costs should not exceed the initial estimate of around ¥130 billion.

The government also plans to set up a new panel that will be involved in selecting companies to design and build the stadium.

The panel, which will include around six experts including Seiichi Fukao, professor emeritus at Tokyo Metropolitan University, is supposed to help curb costs and ensure the structure will be completed by the spring of 2020, the sources said.

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