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Construction start on Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium pushed to 2017

Construction work on Tokyo’s National Stadium, the centrepiece of the Japanese capital’s staging of the 2020 Olympic Games, will not begin until early 2017, it has been confirmed.

Organisers earlier this year had to revise initial plans for the building of the stadium (pictured) amid public concerns over costs. The initial budget of Y250bn (€1.9m/$2bn) was deemed too expensive, leading to the re-evaluation of the plans.

The outcry forced Japan’s former Sports Minister Hakubun Shimomura to resign from his post in September. It was at this stage that the country’s government began to accept new bids for the project, which has seen its budget cut considerably to Y155bn.

The deadline for submissions was today (Monday) but the stadium still has no design plan. A decision on the design will be reached in December, with blueprints expected next year before construction work finally begins in 2017.

“It is true that this is quite late compared to the original plan,” Takakuni Ikeda, vice-president of the Japan Sport Council, the organisation overseeing the construction of the stadium, said, according to the Reuters news agency. “We believe there will be no problems keeping to the schedule.”

Organisers had originally hoped that the stadium would be ready in time to host games at the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Instead, matches will be held in nearby Yokohama.

The National Stadium will replace the old structure that was built for the 1964 Olympic Games. It will have a capacity of 68,000 – less than the 72,000 initially scheduled. Should Japan decide to bid to host football’s Fifa World Cup in the future, a further 12,000 seats will be added.

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