National

National Stadium for Tokyo Olympics to be refitted for team ball sports after 2020 Games

Kyodo

A task force for the Japan Sports Agency agreed on Wednesday to use the new National Stadium being built for the Tokyo Olympics exclusively for team ball sports such as soccer and rugby after the 2020 Games.

The Japan Association of Athletics Federations, which had hoped to have a running track around the field, has also approved the move, which places an emphasis on profit.

The decision not to make it a multipurpose venue — as many stadiums are in Japan — is aimed at bringing in a steady stream of revenue to offset the expected high maintenance costs.

Extra seats will be fitted to increase the capacity of the stadium after the Olympics from 68,000 to around 80,000.

Government officials are finalizing plans to build seats on top of the running track around the field of the main Olympic stadium, which is scheduled for completion in late November 2019.

The JSA will meet with the Japan Football Association and Japan Rugby Football Union before it rubber-stamps the decision in September.

Future athletics meets such as the world and national championships are on course to be held at Ajinomoto Stadium in Chofu, Tokyo, which will be renovated to international standards.

Once challenge facing the JSA plan is the requirement that the stadium have a subtrack for major competitions. Since the National Stadium lacks the space for a nearby subtrack, a temporary facility will be built for the Tokyo Olympics on the neighboring premises of Jingu Stadium.