2020 Summer Olympics

Olympics: Abe convinced new National Stadium will provide iconic 2020 stage

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 December, 2016, 6:36pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 December, 2016, 10:31pm

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is confident that the new National Stadium will provide an iconic stage for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, he said at the groundbreaking ceremony held Sunday.

The main construction work on the central Tokyo stadium began on December 1, about 14 months later than initially planned, after the original design plans by the late Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid were discarded following public outcry over bloated cost estimates.

“When we scrapped the original plan last July, I vowed to make the new venue be one that will be celebrated by the people and athletes, a place that can generate dreams and inspiration,” Abe said.

“The new image of the stadium will realise ‘an athlete first’ policy with the best universal design in the world and some Japanese flavour. I am very confident that this can be the stronghold of sport and culture for the new era.”

The Japanese government last December chose the stadium design of Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, also present at the ceremony, who collaborated with construction company Taisei Corp and building planner Azusa Sekkei Co.

Stadium operator, the Japan Sports Council, agreed on a contract worth about 149 billion yen (US$1.3 billion) this October with a joint venture including Taisei, with Kuma the same month revealing Japanese-style interior design schemes. The venue is scheduled to be completed in November 2019.

“The 2020 Games will be the first time the IOC’s Agenda 2020 will be put in practice, the program emphasizes legacy of the Games and environmental sustainability. I’m sure the new National Stadium will be a symbol for that,” Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said at the ceremony.

“I hope the new National Stadium will turn into a multifunctional legacy after the games ... and one that will be loved by people for a long time to come.”