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Wednesday, 26th August 2015
In Japan Sports News,

Japan given Olympic Stadium deadline

Japan has been given a deadline to complete its new Olympic stadium.

A top official at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) urged ministers to ensure that the National Stadium in Tokyo was completed by January 2020. Speaking in the Japanese capital, John Coates, IOC vice president, urged the country's senior Olympic delegates to meet the deadline so that tests can be run before the Games start in August of the same year.

This would be a revision of the previous timeline which gave Japan until April 2020 for the handover. Mr Coates stressed the importance of an earlier completion date so preparations could get underway for the opening ceremony and the various scheduled to take place in Tokyo's National Stadium.

The IOC vice president told reporters: "The stadium has to be available for ceremonies and rehearsals. They need to have the handover to the organizing committee by January 2020."

Despite the calls by the IOC, Japan's Olympic minister Toshiaki Endo believes the January deadline could be difficult to meet, with April being a tight enough schedule. Mr Endo described it as a "heavy request" adding that he would be "seeking wisdom from everyone in Japan" to help finish the construction "as quickly as possible".

Tokyo's previous National Olympic Stadium, which had hosted the 1964 Summer Olympics, was closed in 2014 to make way for the new facility. A design for the latest stadium was recently scrapped after it came with a 252 billion yen (£1.34 billion) price tag. Mr Endo is looking to keep the cost of the revised stadium below 200 billion yen.

With the new timeline outlined by the IOC, it means the stadium will not be ready as planned for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. Organisers are, however, confident that it will be ready in time for the start of the Olympics.

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