Earlier today the official groundbreaking ceremony took place in the heart of Tokyo. Contractors have less than 36 months to deliver Japan’s most expensive stadium.
Today in central Tokyo work officially commenced on the new Kokuritsu Kyōgijō, as the National Olympic Stadium has been known since the old one was opened. Prime minister Shinzo Abe came to the site to mark the occasion.
"When we scrapped the original plan last July, I vowed to make the new venue be one that will be celebrated by the people and athletes, a place that can generate dreams and inspiration," Abe said, as reported by Kyodo News.
"The new image of the stadium will realise an athlete first policy with the best universal design in the world and some Japanese flavour.
Though construction formally begins now, excavators have been arriving onto the site since early December and enabling works are already in process in the sinkhole where old Olympic Stadium used to stand. The historic venue was demolished in 2015 but then any development was impossible due to the government’s abandonment of the original design.
Now contractors led by Taisei Corporation have no time to waste as their contract gives only 36 months for delivery of Japan’s largest and most expensive ever stadium. While in terms of capacity new National Olympic Stadium won’t be the biggest (surpassed by Nissan Stadium), its surface will become the greatest in Japan. Aside from hosting large events the building will also become a public park on non-event days.
The Olympic Stadium will hold over 68,000 people on a regular basis, though it’s expected to be around 60,000 during the 2020 Olympics (reduction from 80,000). This is due to reconfiguration of seating for media representatives, camera platforms, etc. With budget of ¥149 billion (currently $1.3 billion) it’s expected to be ready 7 months ahead of the 2020 Olympics.
During Japan’s second summer games the venue will hold opening/closing ceremonies, athletics and the football final. On a more regular basis it’s expected to become home to the national team and final host for domestic football tournaments. It will also be the place of Japanese and international athletics events.