Tokyo 2020 Stadium Missing a Cauldron

(ATR) Japan is topping the podium when it comes to issues in getting a new Olympic stadium built.

(ATR) Japan is topping the podium when it comes to issues in getting a new Olympic stadium built.

The latest kerfuffle involves the Olympic Cauldron – or rather, the lack of one – in the latest design for the showpiece venue of the 2020 Summer Games.

Officials admitted a lack of communication between the government and the various other parties involved. Olympics and Paralympics Minister Toshiaki Endo admitted "In ministerial conference, we didn’t discuss the installation location of Olympic Cauldron."

To correct the oversight, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Committee held a coordination meeting with Tokyo representatives and government agencies on Thursday Mar. 3.

Endo, in a press conference after the meeting, said he will lead a discussion team and that the cauldron location would be decided by May when the basic design of the new National Stadium is determined.

Complicating matters in choosing a location is that according to some reports, the cauldron can’t be located in the upper part of the stadium because of Japan’s fire protection laws.

IOC requirements call for the cauldron to be placed where "all spectators in the stadium" can see it as well as it being seen by "people outside the stadium as much as possible." The final installation location requires the approval of the IOC.

The cauldron’s location could end up raising the cost of stadium construction, which has already proved to be a headache for Tokyo organizers. If the basic design of the stadium is changed for the cauldron, it could greatly influence construction cost and create yet another issue for the new national stadium.

The original design for the stadium by architect Zaha Hadid was first scaled down by organizers in 2014 to reduce construction costs. The project was then scrapped entirely by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in July 2015 due to cost projections that still exceeded the planned budget.

Architect Kengo Kuma’s design was chosen in December to be the centerpiece of the 2020 Games. A partnership with construction giant Taisei Corp, the 68,000-seat stadium will cost $1.26 billion, nearly one billion less than the original design. The Japanese government has also agreed to cover $320 million of construction costs, one-fourth of the total price tag.

The 2020 Olympic stadium will be built on the site of the 1964 Tokyo Games venue. Construction is set to begin in early 2017 with completion due in late November 2019.

Reported by Shusuke Hirata and Kazuya Yokooin Tokyo

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