August 27, 2015 / 5:50 AM / 4 years ago

Japan to cut cost for Olympic stadium by third: lawmakers

An aerial view shows the planned construction site (C) for the new National Stadium for 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, in Tokyo, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 17, 2015. REUTERS/Kyodo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan plans to slash construction costs for a new national stadium, the centerpiece of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics by a third from the previous estimate of $2.1 billion, several ruling party lawmakers and senior government officials said on Thursday.

The government plans to put a cap for the stadium’s construction costs at around 160 billion yen ($1.3 billion), compared with the previous plan, scrapped in July amid public anger over sky-rocketing costs, of spending 252 billion yen.

The stadium will be designed to house about 68,000 people, big enough for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games, said the lawmakers and officials, who declined to be named because an official agreement has yet to be made.

Its capacity will be expanded to 80,000 spectators if Japan wins to host World Cup soccer finals, they said.

The government is still divided over whether to install air-conditioning facilities in the stadium, and the final figure for the cap will likely move between 154 billion yen and 164 billion yen, depending on that decision, they added.

A meeting of relevant ministers, led by Olympics Minister Toshiaki Endo, is set to approve the new construction plan on Friday.

Earlier this month, Japan approved guidelines for its new Olympic stadium, vowing to build an athlete-friendly stadium as cheaply as possible.

Reporting by Takashi Umekawa, writing by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Greg Stutchbury

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