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May 18, 2015

Japan reduces its design for the 2020 Olympic stadium in Tokyo

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Japan must scale down its plans for the new JPY170bn ($1.42bn) Olympic stadium in Tokyo, in order to save construction costs and time before the summer games start in 2020, says the country’s sports minister Hakubun Shimomura.

Shimomura said that Japan cannot meet the deadline for the retractable roof, which had been planned for the field. He also stated that 35% of the stadium seats should be temporary, to reduce expenses and time.

The minister had requested Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe to contribute funds, but the latter remained non-commital, according to Kyodo news service.

"The Olympic Games, the Paralympics and rugby, they can all take place even without a roof."

Japan intends to finish construction of the stadium in time for the Rugby World Cup in 2019.

The proposed roof would have been designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid and rise 70m into the air; however, Shimomura was quoted by Wall Street Journal as saying: "The Olympic Games, the Paralympics and rugby, they can all take place even without a roof."

The plan for the new stadium had also been criticised by various designers and architects, who all claimed the design was too big and expensive.

Shimomura informed the city’s governor that the roof would be installed after the games.

Rising expenses for labour and construction prompted the organisers to reconsider the stadium plans. The country previously lowered its original budget of £1.8bn, as well as re-working the design. It is now only twice as large as London’s 2012 Olympic Stadium, in contrast to the original proposed design that was three times bigger.

The new stadium will replace an old one built for the 1964 Olympic Games. Construction at the now-demolished site is scheduled to start in October.

The facility is expected to hold 80,000 seats, reported Associated Press.

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