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Olympic Stadium Plans Did Not Account for Space to Store Construction Materials

translated by Brett Larner

At last week's third meeting of the New National Stadium Construction Plan Inquiry Committee investigating the problems surrounding the plans for the New National Stadium that will form the main venue for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, it was revealed that the plans did not account for space in which to store materials to be used in the on-site assembly of the keel arch and other key elements of the stadium.  The fact came to light through testimony from Japan Sports Promotion Center (JSC) president Ichiro Kono and others during the hearing.

The JSC described the problem as stemming from the fact that there is no available land which can be used freely in the Gaien area around the stadium site, where the city of Tokyo, the Meiji Jingu Outer Gardens, JSC and other landowners all hold stakes.  In response to the Committee's question, "Where were you planning to store all the construction materials?" JSC director Yoshihiro Kizawa answered, "We have not reached the point of asking for the permission of neighboring landowners."  President Kono commented, "I was at the level of planning to hold a meeting with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the organizing committee about the possibility of using the Jingu Sub-Stadium," revealing that the construction plan had been promoted based on the assumption that they would be able to secure permission from the landowners, the Meiji Jingu Outer Gardens, without actually have sought that permission.

Following the site visits and expert testimony, Tokyo University Professor Emeritus and Inquiry Committee chairman Noboru Kashiwagi commented, "There were many voices saying it would be difficult to build a 370 m keel arch on that site, but nobody said, 'impossible.'  Tadao Ando himself said that this challenge represented an opportunity to show off Japan's construction technology to the entire world."

Committee member Dai Tamesue, a two-time World Championships medalist, described his impressions of the commentary from more than thirty experts, criticizing the lack of a clear responsible party in the previous plans as he said, "Things would go smoothly if we had certain people in leadership positions, but it is going to be very difficult for that to happen.  The questions of the concept for the next National Stadium plans and who will be in charge are critical."


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