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Japan scales back Olympic Stadium

Japan's plans for the main stadium for the 2020 Olympics will be reworked because of spiralling costs, the country's prime minister said.

Shinzo Abe told reporters today that the government would start from a "zero base" in reconsidering plans.

The proposed stadium for the Tokyo games faced growing criticism as the estimate of its cost rose to 252 billion yen (£1.3bn).

As a result, the stadium will not be completed in time for the 2019 rugby World Cup, as planned, Mr Abe said.

"We have decided to go back to the start on the Tokyo Olympics-Paralympics stadium plan, and start over from zero," Mr Abe told reporters after a meeting at his office with Yoshiro Mori, chairman of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee.

The government has come under growing criticism as the estimated cost for the new National Stadium rose to nearly twice as much of the initial plan of 130 billion yen.

The controversy was an additional headache for Mr Abe, whose support rating has fallen over unpopular defence legislation that he is pushing to expand the role of Japan's military overseas.

"I have been listening to the voices of the people and the athletes for about a month now, thinking about the possibility of a review," Mr Abe said.

The prime minister said he had obtained the consent of Mr Mori, a former prime minister, and instructed the sports and Olympics ministers to start preparing immediately a process to choose a new plan.

Construction had been scheduled to start in October on the stadium based on a winning design by award-winning architect Zaha Hadid chosen by Japan in an international competition.

The latest cost estimate nearly doubled from the initially planned 130 billion yen, and was a sharp increase from the 163 billion yen estimate last year. It would have been the world's most expensive sports stadium, surpassing the 1.6 billion US dollar MetLife (£1bn) stadium in New Jersey.


From Belfast Telegraph