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Tokyo: stadium change for RWC 2019, panel reports on national stadium

Zaha Hadid called it ‘a scandal’ and the Japanese Sports Minister Hakubun Shimomura tendered his resignation when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe requested the New National Stadium project go back to the drawing board. Hadid’s design, which won the international architecture competition, and the sports minister, both became victims of what an investigative panel has found to be ‘an incompetent organisational structure’.

Yomiuri Shimbun reported:

The results of interviews conducted by a third-party panel probing the failure of the initial plan for the new National Stadium suggest a lack of risk awareness and a disdainful attitude toward information disclosure among leaders of the Japan Sport Council (JSC) and the sports ministry.

The panel, which was commissioned by the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry, compiled a report that concluded the reason for the failure of the project lies with an incompetent organisational structure that is incapable of handling a project of this scale.

A main problem has been the JSC’s inability to pin down costs. General contractors reported the total construction cost estimate to be ¥308.8 billion, the joint ventures in charge of design put their estimate at ¥211.2 billion, against an initially estimated cost of ¥162.5 billion.

The new stadium was due to host the Rugby World Cup Final in 2019 but World Rugby provided the JSC with some extra breathing space to get back on track when last week it accepted an offer that  Yokohama Stadium (pictured in Tokyo Stadium 2020 mode) will replace the new National Stadium among the 12 venues and will host both the opening ceremony and opening match of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

World Rugby President, Bernard Lapasset, said:

These are exciting, unprecedented times for Japan Rugby and this revised roadmap reinforces and reflects the shared vision and mission to deliver a Rugby World Cup that will be great for Japan, great for Asia and great for Rugby. 

2019 Rugby World Cup organisation’s Chief Executive, Akira Shimazu, said:

This revised plan is an exciting blueprint for success and we are confident that Rugby World Cup 2019 will be very special tournament for Japan and global rugby.