[TOKYO] Tokyo's long-running 2020 Olympic stadium saga has taken another twist after it emerged organisers haven't worked out where to put the Games cauldron without creating a fire risk.
After scrapping the original stadium plans altogether last year, Tokyo organisers largely neglected to factor in the Olympic flame as part of the new design, which includes wooden roof panels.
"It appears things were proceeding under the old plans without much discussion (of where to put the cauldron)," Olympics minister Toshiaki Endo admitted to reporters on Friday.
"The lighting of the flame is the main event of the Olympics. As for exactly how it will be done and where the cauldron will be, that will be discussed at a later date." Mr Endo added that he wanted to find a solution to the problem as early as April.
Architect Kengo Kuma's design features wooden panels in the roof, and the installation of the cauldron could violate the Japanese Fire Service Act.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pulled the plug on the original stadium design last July amid growing public anger over its US$2 billion price tag.
As a result, construction has fallen behind schedule, forcing rugby organisers to shift the final of the 2019 World Cup in Japan to Yokohama.
A government source quoted by Kyodo News agency blamed the cauldron oversight on a "lack of communication between (stadium operator) Japan Sport Council, the government, the organising committee and other parties when the new development plan was being drawn up".
Talk shows on Japanese TV poked fun at Tokyo 2020 organisers, with one presenter saying: "They realise that NOW?"
"It's like going camping and forgetting your tent."