Japan releases 2020 stadium guidelines, but no cost estimates

Fri Aug 14, 2015 1:32pm EDT
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By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan approved guidelines for its new Olympic stadium on Friday, vowing to build an athlete-friendly stadium as cheaply as possible and complete it by March 2020, a year later than planned, but without including any cost estimates or limits.

Japan scrapped its original plan for the new National stadium last month in the face of widespread outrage after costs ballooned to $2.1 billion, nearly twice original estimates -- an unusual move for an Olympic host city this late in the process.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) signed off on the decision for the stadium, centerpiece of the 2020 Summer Olympics, but it has also said it will be part of the new stadium tender to make sure things stay on track.

The guidelines approved by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other officials late on Friday emphasized keeping costs as low as possible but included no upper limits or estimates. Plans are for management of the stadium to be handed over to a private firm once the Olympics are over.

"We should make a structure that will emotionally move people all over the world," Abe said.

"Of course, keeping costs down is a priority, and we must make the best, realistic plan we can.

Construction will be completed by March of 2020, the plan said, a year later than originally planned. Media reports have said construction will not begin until the end of 2016 or the beginning of 2017, also at least a year behind the original schedule.

Cost estimates will be set in a later plan to be released later this month or early in September, but officials have said their aim is to do everything as cheaply as possible, including having a roof over spectator seats only.   Continued...

An aerial view shows the planned construction site (C) for the new National Stadium for 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, in Tokyo, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 17, 2015. Mandatory credit REUTERS/Kyodo