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Japan to review costly Olympics stadium amid growing criticism

Germany
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Tokyo (dpa) - Japan‘s premier was to announce changes to the new national stadium planned for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics amid growing criticism over its soaring cost, news reports said.

Construction costs will be slashed, after swelling to 252 billion yen (2 billion dollars) from an initially projected 130 billion yen, back to around 180 billion yen, Kyodo News agency reported, citing unnamed government sources on the upcoming announcement.

The changes will make it impossible to use the stadium for the Rugby World Cup in 2019 as planned, Kyodo reported.

"The design itself has led to the large construction costs," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference, hinting that Tokyo saw changes to that design as necessary to cut the costs.

The existing design, conceived by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, features two gigantic arches over the stadium, the main venue of the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Jim Heverin, director of Zaha Hadid Architects in London, told Kyodo on Thursday the soaring costs were due to the rise in construction costs in Tokyo and do not stem from the design or the type of architecture itself.

Sports Minister Hakubun Shimomura suggested the government needs to look into how the design was selected, saying there was "not enough debate over the costs" in the selection of the stadium design.

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