(ATR) Organizers of the Tokyo 2020 Games will place the Olympic cauldron either near the field of play or outside of the new National Stadium.
The new stadium design by architect Kengo Kuma was chosen in December after the original design by late architect Zaha Hadid was deemed too costly for organizers and the Japanese government. Although Kuma’s design reduced the price tag of the stadium by $1 billion, Kuma and organizers did not discuss the installation of the Olympic cauldron.
The first idea from organizers was to add the cauldron to the roof of the stadium that will be predominantly made from wood. However, Japan's building code prohibits this option as an open flame cannot be located on top of or close to a wooden structure.
Olympics minister Toshiaki Endo blamed the mishap on a simple lack of communication between the government and Tokyo 2020.
A working group to resolve the cauldron issue was established on March 31 and is led by Endo.
On Thursday, the working group decided the best locations for the cauldron would be just outside the National Stadium or inside the stadium next to the field of play. These two locations were chosen due to the lack of constraints that other locations presented, such as placing the cauldron on the roof of the stadium.
Installing the cauldron on the roof would undoubtedly raise the cost of construction for the stadium, a solution the Japanese government and organizer are averse to after the original stadium design debacle.
Installation on the roof would also delay the completion of the stadium that will be built at the site of the old National Stadium built for the Tokyo 1964 Games. Organizers would like to have the stadium completed in time for the 2019 Rugby World Cup also being staged in Japan.
Endo says identifying the two possible locations is the first step in resolving the issue and the invested parties will meet to go over the plans soon.
"The cauldron conundrum will be discussed among Tokyo 2020, the national government, Japan Sports Council and the Tokyo metropolitan," says Endo.
The IOC must approve the final selection before installation can begin. Endo says the approval will be given at least 18 months ahead of the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Written by Kevin Nutley and Hironori Hashimoto
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