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Tokyo to keep to Olympic plans despite costs

November 15, 2013

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Olympic officials are adhering to plans laid out in their successful bid to host the 2020 Games despite criticism that costs for the main stadium are too high.

Speaking after a two-day orientation seminar with the International Olympic Committee, Japanese Olympic Committee president Tsunekazu Takeda said Friday that plans to build an 80,000-seat stadium are still in place.

Japan is scaling down the cost of the planned main stadium following an uproar from some prominent architects who think it’s too big and expensive, but Takeda said that doesn’t mean a smaller facility.

“We are aware of the concerns,” Takeda said. “But nothing has been decided yet and we still plan to have an 80,000-seat stadium.”

The original budget for the stadium, designed by award-winning British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, was 300 billion yen ($3 billion) but Japan’s government has said the cost will be scaled down to 130 billion yen ($1.3 billion).

The plans for the stadium were approved earlier this year by the city and central governments. Japanese government officials have not given specifics on how construction will be trimmed, but have said that the design concept, which includes a retractable roof, will be kept.

The IOC delegation, led by executive director Gilbert Felli, shared advice with organizers and their partners on managing the Olympics and Paralympics.

“This orientation seminar has enabled us to lay the foundation for the future and to build upon the transfer of knowledge that Tokyo has already benefited from during the bid process,” Felli said.

Tokyo plans to launch its organizing committee in February and must decide on a committee head. Former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori has been linked with the job.

New IOC President Thomas Bach will be visiting Tokyo next Wednesday. He will be accompanied by IOC vice president John Coates, who heads the coordination commission for the Tokyo Games.

Update hourly