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Agreement reached by Japan’s central government to fund the new Olympic Stadium

After months of dispute over the cost of the main stadium for the 2020 Olympics, the central and metropolitan governments reached a deal Tuesday in which Tokyo will shoulder ¥39.5 billion of the estimated ¥158.1 billion construction cost, as reported by The Japan Times.

Following talks between Governor, Yoichi Masuzoe, Olympics Minister, Toshiaki Endo, and Sports and Education Minister, Hiroshi Hase, Endo said the central government will foot half the bill for the new National Stadium and related construction work, and that it had asked Tokyo and the Japan Sport Council (JSC), which is overseeing the project, to cover the rest.

Masuzoe accepted the proposal, saying the figure was a result of marathon discussions between the metropolitan and central governments.

“As the governor of the city to host the Olympic competition in 2020, I would like to accept the budget plan,” Masuzoe said, adding that the stadium will remain a legacy of the event and bring long-term advantages for Tokyo residents.

In May, former Sports and Education Minister, Hakubun Shimomura, asked the metropolitan government to pay about ¥50 billion of the estimated ¥150 billion needed to build the stadium under its original design.

Masuzoe angrily turned down the request and lashed out at the central government for mismanaging the project.

Two months later, the JSC revealed the stadium cost had ballooned to ¥252 billion from the initial ¥130 billion, and blamed difficulties in following the design blueprint proposed by British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid.

Amid the public backlash, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe days later pulled the plug on the project and ordered the design process to be restarted.

Shimomura stepped down as Sports Minister to take responsibility for the debacle, with Hase assuming the post in a Cabinet reshuffle in October.

Masuzoe said Tuesday the next step will be to get feedback on the cost from Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly members and residents.


Image: Sports and Education Minister, Hiroshi Hase (left), Tokyo Governor, Yoichi Masuzoe (centre) and Olympics Minister, Toshiaki Endo, demonstrate their solidarity for the cameras Tuesday after striking a cost-sharing deal on the main stadium for the 2020 Olympics. | KYODO

Piece by The Japan Time’s Staff Writer,

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