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Japan gives final go-ahead for Zaha's £1.3bn Olympic stadium

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Zaha Hadid Architects’ Tokyo Olympic stadium will start on site in October and cost £1.3 billion to complete, the Japanese government has confirmed

The announcement by Japanese sports minister Hakubun Shimomura earlier this week ends speculation on whether the competition-winning scheme could be further redesigned.

According to the minister, the high-profile 2020 Tokyo Olympic stadium will cost £1.3 billion to build which is almost twice the original £674 million estimate.

The iconic structure will start on site in October and complete in May 2019 two months later than originally planned but still in time for the Rugby World Cup.

In a statement, ZHA said: ‘Today’s confirmation of the stadium’s design, budget and contractors will ensure that construction work can get underway in the coming months and the New National Stadium is ready to welcome the world to Japan for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.’

The statement continued: ‘The design meets the needs for a national stadium as a user-focused, productive and sustainable home for Japan’s sporting bodies and community associations, their millions of members, participants and fans, for many generations to come.

‘The stadium has been designed so its arched roof can be built in parallel with the stadium seating bowl, saving time in construction.’

The 80,000-capacity stadium project has been repeatedly in the headlines ever since Hadid defeated a raft of international stars to win the job two years ago.

Earlier this month ZHA brushed aside reports that the Japanese government was considering tearing up its contract for the centrepiece venue.

An ultimatum - reported by Japanese newspaper Sports Hochi - alleged the practice risked losing the job unless it modified its design to reduce costs and speed up construction.

Last summer the venue was scaled down and redesigned after a petition - led by Toyo Ito, Kengo Kuma and Sou Fujimoto - received more than 32,000 signatures calling for it to be scrapped.

Opponents claimed the original design - planned to replace Tokyo’s now-demolished 1964 Olympic national stadium - was ‘oversized’ and would have a negative impact on the nearby Meiji Shrine gardens.

The smaller-scale design was also met with criticism from one of Japan’s most famous architects, Arata Isozaki who warned it could be a ‘monumental mistake’ and a ‘disgrace to future generations’.

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