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Tokyo Olympic stadium building contract finally approved
With the International Olympic Committee concerned that it may not be completed on time, the Japanese Government has approved plans for the building of the main stadium for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Construction of the 150 billion yen (US$1.5 billion) Tokyo Stadium is scheduled to begin in December, more than a year after the original blueprints were torn up on the orders of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe amid public anger over cost blowouts involved with hosting the games.
The Japan Sport Council advised that showcase Olympic venue is now set to be completed by the end of November 2019 - five months behind schedule, and with the delay having already forced the 2019 Rugby World Cup to switch venues for the final match.
The design by architect Kengo Kuma's replaced an earlier design by the late Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid for which costs had reportedly rise to more than twice the forecast amount.
New Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, who has been eager to further slash costs for Tokyo's second Olympics, promised to keep a close eye on progress with the city's preparations already dogged by controversy.
Governor Koike stated “given we are sharing the (financial) burden, I will raise my voice when necessary to ensure the stadium is utilised by the citizens of Tokyo.”
Japanese Olympic officials have come under fire after a series of embarrassing gaffes since beating out Madrid and Istanbul in the bidding race three years ago.
Prime Minster Abe tore up initial plans for the Olympic stadium while organisers then had to scrap the original Games logo after accusations of plagiarism.
Most alarmingly, French prosecutors launched an investigation into $2 million in payments they suspect were made to help Tokyo secure the Olympics.
Japanese Olympic officials have strenuously denied any wrongdoing.
But Koike's Tokyo government recently appointed a group of academics and business leaders to study ways to cut escalating costs and reduce the burden on the city's taxpayers.
The panel warned in a report published on Thursday that the Games could end up costing more than $30 billion, urging Olympic leaders to ditch plans to build new venues and use existing ones.
Koike agreed to examine proposals to overhaul the swimming, volleyball and kayak facilities, currently estimated at some $1.5 billion.
Images: The planned new Tokyo Olympic Stadium, interior (top) and interior (below).
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3rd September 2016 - JAPANESE OLYMPIC COMMITTEE CLEARS ITSELF OF TOKYO OLYMPIC BID BRIBERY ALLEGATIONS
4th August 2016 - NEW SPORTS CONFIRMED FOR THE 2020 TOKYO OLYMPIC GAMES
29th January 2016 - TOKYO 2020 PUBLISHES EARLY PLANS FOR ‘SUSTAINABLE, MINIMAL IMPACT’ OLYMPICS
16th January 2016 - TOKYO OLYMPIC STADIUM ARCHITECT DENIES COPYING FORMER DESIGN
28th September 2015 - YOKOHAMA TO HOST 2019 RUGBY WORLD CUP FINAL
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