Olympics

New National Stadium on track for Dec. 21 christening

by Ryusei Takahashi

Staff Writer

Members of the press were invited on Wednesday to visit the new National Stadium, the Olympic and Paralympic Village and other venues that will host events during the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Ninety percent of the construction of the new National Stadium has been completed, according to the Japan Sport Council, and is on track to finish on schedule in November.

“Construction is in the final stages,” JSC officials told journalists during a media tour of the Olympic venues and facilities. “Ninety percent of the work has been completed but there’s still more work to be done.”

A ceremony commemorating the stadium’s opening will be held on Dec. 21, at which point the venue will be officially christened as the “National Stadium.”

A statue of the Olympic rings stands near the new National Stadium, which is scheduled to be completed in November. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI
A statue of the Olympic rings stands near the new National Stadium, which is scheduled to be completed in November. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI

About 58,000 seats will be available during the Paralympics — 2,000 fewer than what will be available during the Olympics because of an increase in areas for wheelchairs officials said.

Construction began in December 2016 with a scheduled completion time of 36 months.

The stadium, a structure which covers approximately 72,400 square meters and stands about 47 meters tall with five floors aboveground and two below, will have a 60-meter-long partial roof made of steel and lumber from all of Japan’s 47 prefectures. The building will also have 185 fans and eight mist cooling devices installed throughout to help alleviate the summer heat.

The stadium, which was designed by architect Kengo Kuma, will serve as the main venue for events during the Tokyo Games — including the opening and closing ceremonies for the Olympics and Paralympics as well as the women’s soccer final. It will hold about 60,000 spectators during the games.

Around 45,000 seats have already been installed. The facility is capable of expanding its capacity to 80,000 seats. When the stadium is completed, about 500 seats will be available for those in wheelchairs during the Olympics and around 747 during the Paralympics.

The JSC and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s media tour on Wednesday made stops at several venues, including the new National Stadium, Tokyo Aquatics Centre, Ariake Arena, Ariake Gymnastics Centre as well as the Olympic and Paralympic Village.

Media observe the Olympic and Paralympic Village in Chuo Ward for the first time. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI
Media observe the Olympic and Paralympic Village in Chuo Ward for the first time. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI

According to city officials, construction of the Tokyo Aquatics Centre was 72 percent complete as of May, with Ariake Arena at 78 percent, the Kasai Canoe Slalom Course at 94 percent and the Oi Hockey Stadium 87 percent finished. The residential buildings in the Olympic and Paralympic Village was 81-92 percent complete while the commercial buildings were at 54 percent.

Wednesday marked the first time members of the press were invited into the Olympic and Paralympic Village, which is comprised of 21 buildings across 44 hectares. Eighteen thousand beds will be available for athletes during the Olympics, and 8,000 during the Paralympics.

Tokyo Stadium, which will host soccer and rugby matches, is estimated to hold 48,000 fans while the Tokyo Aquatics Centre has the capacity of approximately 15,000.

The Tokyo 2020 Games will be held in more than 40 venues across the country. The Olympics, which will feature competitions in 33 sports, are scheduled to take place next year from July 24 to Aug. 9. The Paralympics, with its 22 sports, will take place from Aug. 25 to Sept. 6.

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