The decision last week by the Japan Sports Council to go ahead with construction of the new National Stadium, the main venue for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, in accordance with the original design defies widespread criticism that blames the controversial design for much of the planned structure's enormous cost overrun. It is questionable if the parties involved in the decision process gave serious thought to alternative proposals put forward by experts that would result in a simpler stadium at a much more affordable cost, or if they even cared that taxpayers will have to bear the burden of the ballooning expenses.

When the JSC, an external body of the education and sports ministry responsible for the new stadium project, adopted the design by London-based architect Zaha Hadid in an international competition in November 2012, the construction cost was estimated at ¥130 billion — much higher than the main stadium of the 2012 London Games, which cost ¥83.7 billion, and the main venue of the 2008 Beijing Games, which was built for ¥54 billion. But less than a year later — shortly after Tokyo was chosen as host of the 2020 games — education minister Hakubun Shimomura stated that the price of the new stadium could hit ¥300 billion.

A JSC panel in charge of the new stadium project then came up with a plan to pare down the construction cost to ¥185 billion by reducing the total floor space by roughly 25 percent. In May 2014, the panel approved a basic plan that, with more slight changes to the design, was supposed to reduce the cost to ¥162.5 billion. In late June, however, the education minister disclosed that the cost of the new stadium would reach ¥252 billion, even after cost-cutting measures such as postponing the construction of its retractable roof until after the 2020 games and making 15,000 of its total 80,000 seats removable.