Falsified Safety Data Delays Tokyo 2020 Aquatics Center Construction

Construction on the Olympic Aquatics Center for the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, has hit a snag following the recent reveal of falsified earthquake safety data by Tokyo-based firm KYB.

Earlier this month, SwimSwam reported that the Japanese hydraulics company KYB had manipulated earthquake safety data for nearly 100 buildings throughout Japan, including some venues for the 2020 Summer Games. Now it has been confirmed that the Olympic Aquatics Center, where swimming, diving, and artistic (synchronized) swimming will take place during the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, is one of the buildings affected by the false data.

The Olympic Aquatics Center, which houses 32 hydraulic oil dampeners, will have to replace all 32 dampeners if it is confirmed safety data for the Aquatics Center was also falsified. The Japan News reports that a Tokyo government official said of the delays: “With the tight construction schedule, it’s a totally unexpected situation for us,” the official said. “We must immediately take measures to deal with the problem.

Furthermore, the official is quoted to have said of firm KYB: “Even if the maker responsible for the data falsification told us [the dampers] are safe, we can’t trust them,” a senior metropolitan government official said. “We cannot waste even a single day.

If Tokyo 2020 must replace all 32 dampeners, the process could further postpone the already behind-schedule Olympic Aquatics Center, which hit its first delay when it was determined that the topsoil on which the facility was being constructed was contaminated. Now, according to The Japan News, the Olympic Aquatics Center is on schedule to be the last venue completed before the Games open in July of 2020.

Further construction delays–though unrelated to the KYB scandal–include the Ariake Tennis Park, which is now stalled due to the “collapse of a contractor” in charge of renovating the facility, which will host both tennis and wheelchair tennis in 2020. M-Tec Co., the Japan-based company that undertook the $14.3 million project, recently filed for bankruptcy, seeking protection from its creditors with the Tokyo District Court, pursuant to Japan’s Civil Rehabilitation Law.

An official from the Japanese Tennis Affiliation said that should tennis and wheelchair tennis be affected by a delay in the construction process, the issue would become and “international problem.” While the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has plans to begin searching for a new contractor to complete the renovations, new work cannot begin and construction materials currently on-site cannot be moved due to an asset protection order handed down by the Tokyo District Court, which bans the removal of construction-related materials from the site.

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About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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