Construction on Japan’s National Stadium is due to begin in December after the Government today approved a contract with a joint venture to build the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games venue.
The contract is viewed to come in at a cost of $1.5 billion, with construction companies Taisei Corporation, Azusa Sekkei and the chosen architect Kengo Kuma due to work on the project.
According to kyodonews, Japan Sports Council President Kazumi Ohigashi has said that construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of November 2019.
Construction is set to begin over a year after the initial idea for the stadium was scrapped, with the cost of the design by London based firm Zaha Hadid Architects having spiraled to $2.5 billion.
As a consequence of the soaring costs, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe axed the initial design in August last year, following mounting public opposition.
Kuma’s design was then selected as a replacement.
The delays resulted in Japan being forced to search for a replacement venue for the 2019 Rugby World Cup final, with the Yokohama Stadium stepping into the breach.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, who has repeatedly voiced her desire to get costs associated with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games under control, has stated she will watch the progress of the project closely.
“I will keep raising my voice so that [the stadium] will be used for the people of Tokyo,” Koike said, according to the Japan Times. “To make up for the burden that Tokyo has to bear.”
According to the Japan Times, plans were heard regarding the stadium’s potential use as a football, athletics and arts venue following the completion of the Games.
The approval of the contract comes a day after a review commissioned by the Tokyo Government predicted that total costs for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games could exceed $30 billion unless drastic changes are made.
The Metropolitan Government’s investigative taskforce, commissioned by Koike, blamed rising costs on poor leadership, governance and cost control measures.
Venues for at least three sports should be changed, it has been proposed, in order to help bring the budget down.
This could involve scrapping plans for a new swimming venue in favor of the existing Tokyo International Swimming Center, while rowing and canoe sprint could be moved 400 kilometers out of the host city to Tome in Miyagi Prefecture.
The Pacifico Yokohama could also be used as a new volleyball venue.
This comes as a major set back to Tokyo organisers as well as the International Olympic Commitee (IOC) after previous cuts were said to have saved $1 billion.
The latest figures are more than four times initial budget estimations.
By Michael Pavitt
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz