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A groundbreaking ceremony has been held in Tokyo at the site of the $1.5 billion national stadium that will host the 2020 Olympic Games.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike and other dignitaries attended the event on Sunday at the site of the demolished national stadium that was used during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

The ceremony ended with a video showing how the stadium is expected to look and function once completed by November 2019.

The opening and closing ceremonies and athletics competitions are due to take place in the stadium at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as yet-to-be-confirmed Olympic football matches.

The new stadium, designed by architect Kengo Kuma replaced a controversial design by the late Zaha Hadid, costs of which had soared to $2.5 billion.

Abe said:

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.

The new image of the stadium will realise an athlete first policy with the best universal design in the world and some Japanese flavour.

I am very confident that this can be the stronghold of sport and culture for the new era.

The new stadium structure will use Japanese-grown larch in its wood and steel composite roof and prefabricated panels to help keep costs down.

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