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Tokyo 2020 Games prep beset with problems

Tokyo Olympics 2020.jpg

“Some officials even suggested they were hoping Fukushima prefecture could host the first rounds of softball and baseball, which have been added to the program for the 2020 Olympics.

The northeastern prefecture hosts the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station which suffered a triple meltdown in March 2011 after it was hit by an earthquake and resulting tsunami.

About 100,000 residents have still been unable to return home because of radioactive contamination near the complex.”

Tokyo’s preparations for the 2020 Games have been beset by problems from soaring costs to a stadium designed without the Olympic cauldron.

In less than four years, the final torch bearer will light the cauldron in the opening ceremony to start the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

But where was the cauldron in the newly selected design for the Olympic main stadium, Japanese officials asked in March.

It was just the latest in a series of controversies involving Tokyo’s second Olympics.

Tokyo organising committee president Yoshiro Mori blamed the new main stadium operator, the Japan Sports Council, and then-sports minister Hiroshi Hase for the missing cauldron.

“It would make no sense not to think about the cauldron if the stadium was getting built for the Olympic Games,” Mori said.

Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, whose proposal was picked in December as the new design for the venue, said the placement of the cauldron was not even on the agenda during the bidding.

His design has spectators’ stands covered by wooden materials, therefore there are concerns that a cauldron in the stadium could infringe the country’s Fire Service Act.

But Kuma has tried to allay such concerns, saying there’s no need to worry as he is considering various methods to install it.

Kuma’s design was adopted after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided in July 2015 to abandon the initial design by late Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid amid a public outcry over its surging cost.

The Japanese architect’s plan indicates a total construction cost of Y149 billion ($A1.94 billion), far below the estimated Y252 billion for the controversial scrapped design by Hadid, which almost doubled from an initially projected Y130 billion.

Kuma’s office says the construction will start in December and it will be completed in November 2019, two months earlier than the deadline imposed by the International Olympic Committee, seven months before the opening of the 32nd Olympics.

The changes, however, will make it impossible to use the new stadium for the rugby World Cup in the (northern) autumn of 2019 as scheduled.

Japan also withdrew its original Tokyo Olympics logo a year ago after its designer Kenjiro Sano was accused of copying it.

A Belgian designer sued the IOC, saying the logo was similar to one of his works produced for a theatre in Belgium.

The new official emblem was picked in April.

More than three years ago, then-candidate city Tokyo promised a compact Olympics with most venues close to the centre of the Japanese capital. That was a main selling point to win the bid to host the 2020 Games against Istanbul and Madrid.

Tokyo, however, backed down on such promises as some venues have moved out of the Japanese capital.

Some officials even suggested they were hoping Fukushima prefecture could host the first rounds of softball and baseball, which have been added to the program for the 2020 Olympics.

The northeastern prefecture hosts the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station which suffered a triple meltdown in March 2011 after it was hit by an earthquake and resulting tsunami.

About 100,000 residents have still been unable to return home because of radioactive contamination near the complex.

The organising committee has been criticised for soaring costs.

Former defence minister Yuriko Koike became governor of Tokyo in a landslide victory in late July, the first woman to head the Japanese capital. A ruling Liberal Democratic Party MP who speaks fluent Arabic and English, she has pledged to review the ballooning costs of the 2020 Games.

Koike is in Rio de Janeiro to attend the closing ceremony to accept the Olympic flag as a representative of the next host city.

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/08/19/tokyo-2020-games-prep-beset-problems

August 20, 2016 - Posted by | Japan |

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