- Tokyo Olympic stadium officials have confirmed that, after the International Olympic Committee’s mandate for a January 2020 completion date, construction on the controversial venue will begin in 2017.
- The selected start date is the last window of opportunity for officials to ensure the stadium is ready for the opening of the 2020 Summer Games, Reuters reported.
- The first stadium design was scuttled when the projected costs of famed architect Zaha Hadid's design turned out to be almost double the original estimates. Hadid initially planned to submit a new design bid, but later withdrew from the competition. The stadium still has no design, but officials said they will select one in December after the end of the design competition.
The stadium project, slated to replace Tokyo’s 1964 Olympic stadium, is just one misstep associated with the 2020 Games. Japan’s sports minister resigned over the stadium debacle, and the Olympic logo chosen for the Games was also scrapped after allegations of plagiarism.
The stadium project has been met with public resistance as Japan’s economy dipped back into recession. Public furor about cost overruns was the primary driver of the trashing of Hadid's design.
Now the question remains as to whether or not Tokyo will be able to meet the IOC deadline of January 2020.
"It's true that this is quite late compared to the original plan," Takakuni Ikeda, vice president of the Japan Sport Council, told Reuters. Ikeda said officials released a new timetable in August after they dropped the first design. "We believe there will be no problems keeping to the schedule," he said.