Japan’s capital, Tokyo, was thrilled almost two years ago when they won the bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games. The Japan Sports Council Tuesday agreed to a cost revision for the construction of a new main Olympic Stadium.
It was first announced in 2012 that the old stadium would be torn down and a newer one would be built to replace it. The new stadium is scheduled to begin in October of this year and be completed in May of 2019 in time to host the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Concerns have been voiced about the necessity of the planned retractable roof– since then, plans for such a roof have been postponed until after the 2020 Olympics, and it was announced that some 15,000 of the projected 80,000 seats would be made temporary for the Games to cut down on costs.
The stadium renovation still holds a big price tag of around $2.1 billion– this is part of the new budget plan approved by the Japan Sports Council. The original costs were reportedly around $730 million less than current estimates.
The primary use of the stadium in 2020 will be for athletics, rugby, and football, as well as opening and closing ceremonies; swimming and other aquatic competition will NOT take place at the Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center (as previously reported), where Kosuke Kitajima broke the 200m breast world record for the 2nd time back in 2008. The center only seats 3,635, which is fairly small compared to the London Aquatics Center, which held 17,500 for the 2012 Olympics. Instead, such events will take place in a new aquatics center, which will seat a whopping 20,000.
Preparations for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo seem to be going smoothly, without any major disasters or incidents plaguing the initial years of construction and renovation. This is especially true when comparing to the preparation for the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympics, which has been riddled, at the least, by pollution concerns and large scale worker strikes. Just today, it was reported that a key subway line might not be ready in time for the 2016 Games. The subway is supposed to move spectators to and from Olympic venues.