IOC boss tells Japan 'no apology needed' over stadium changes

Sat Aug 1, 2015 5:05am EDT
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By Julian Linden

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Olympic officials have told Japan there was no need to apologize for scrapping their original proposal for a new national stadium in Tokyo but they still need to get a hurry on to have it ready in time for the 2020 Olympics.

Tokyo 2020 Games chief Yoshiro Mori issued a formal apology to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Saturday after plans for the city's new Olympic stadium were scrapped because of escalating costs.

Japan will instead build a much cheaper model, which is still to be agreed on, but it won't be finished until April 2020, just three months before the start of the Tokyo Games.

The IOC, which has recently introduced new reforms encouraging host cities to find ways of cutting costs, said it welcomed Tokyo's decision to save cash but time was still a factor.

"We highly respect this gesture," IOC President Thomas Bach said. "But we do not think there is an apology needed for a change of circumstances which is beyond your control.

"We want to tell you that the IOC is standing by your side."

Japan had ambitious plans to build the most expensive stadium in the world but aborted the project when costs ballooned out of control, partly because of a sharp rise in the cost of imported building materials and a labor shortage.

Tokyo's biggest concern now is time. Under the original plan, the stadium would have been ready in 2019 but that has been delayed until early 2020.   Continued...

International Olympic Committee's (IOC) President Thomas Bach speaks during the Almaty 2022 Presentation at the 128th IOC Session in Malaysia's capital city of Kuala Lumpur July 31, 2015. REUTERS/Edgar Su