Discussions as to the cost of construction for the new national stadium that will be the heart of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics remain at a standstill as the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has rejected the demand from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) to pay for 30 percent of the 300-billion-yen (over US$3 billion) price tag. The meetings and negotiations have been held and it seems that the capital city’s government will not budge in its stance, despite repeated demands from the MEXT.
“It is Tokyo that will gain the largest benefit from reconstruction of the stadium,” the ministry said. But the metropolitan government refused and the talks remain deadlocked. “If we agree to shoulder part of the costs, you never know how much they will demand,” the metropolitan government said.
Initially, the cost for the New National Stadium was set by MEXT at 130 billion yen (around US$1.3 million). At that time, a host country for the 2020 Games had not yet been decided, and the new stadium was scheduled to be used only for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Sports minister Hakubun Shimomura revealed at Wednesday’s House of Councillors Budget Committee session that the total construction costs would reach 300 billion yen, more than twice the previous amount. “The increase in the reconstruction cost has resulted from accurate reproduction of the design,” Shimomura said. This increase has now triggered suspicions from other members of the government over the huge reconstruction cost.
The stadium – designed by British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid – will be built after demolishing the current National Stadium in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, and is scheduled to be completed in spring 2019. The 80,000-seat venue with a retractable roof will be equipped with a nine-lane running track. Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose said at Friday’s press conference: “As it is a national stadium, the metropolitan government does not need to pay anything. We have not received an official request from the government.” There is now pressure on the MEXT and the Japan Olympic Committee to finish the costing details of the stadium, as if the budget is not confirmed by the end of the year, the expense for the design will not be included in the government’s fiscal 2014 budget, which will affect the time of completion. The government has tried to decrease the estimated costs by reducing the total floor space, and has considered asking the metropolitan government to shoulder only the costs of roads around the stadium.