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Japan to cut cost for Olympic stadium by a third: lawmakers

Japan’s Olympics minister Toshiaki Endo says the original deadline of April 2020 was already a tight schedule for completion of Tokyo’s new Olympic stadium.

[TOKYO] Japan plans to slash construction costs for a new national stadium, the centrepiece of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics by a third from the previous estimate of US$2.1 billion, several ruling party lawmakers and senior government officials said on Thursday.

The government plans to put a cap for the stadium's construction costs at around 160 billion yen (S$1.87 billion), compared with the previous plan, scrapped in July amid public anger over sky-rocketing costs, of spending 252 billion yen.

The stadium will be designed to house about 68,000 people, big enough for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games, said the lawmakers and officials, who declined to be named because an official agreement has yet to be made.

Its capacity will be expanded to 80,000 spectators if Japan wins to host World Cup soccer finals, they said.

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The government is still divided over whether to install air-conditioning facilities in the stadium, and the final figure for the cap will likely move between 154 billion yen and 164 billion yen, depending on that decision, they added.

A meeting of relevant ministers, led by Olympics Minister Toshiaki Endo, is set to approve the new construction plan on Friday.

Earlier this month, Japan approved guidelines for its new Olympic stadium, vowing to build an athlete-friendly stadium as cheaply as possible.