TOKYO – Construction of the stadium for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is 90 percent complete and is scheduled to be finished by the end of November, according to a media tour of the facilities on Wednesday.
With just over a year to go before the inauguration of the games, the exterior of the New National Stadium, whose build is being overseen by the Japan Sports Council, is almost complete.
The next phase will be the laying of the turf, scheduled for the middle of July, as well as the running track, which will be done between August and September, JSC officials told journalists during the tour.
About 45,000 seats have already been installed in the stands, out of a total of 60,000, and painted in varying shades of green.
Two giant high-definition screens measuring 30 meters (98 feet) wide and 9 meters high have also been installed in the north and south ends of the stadium.
The public will be able to visit the stadium for the first time on Dec. 21 during an opening ceremony of the complex featuring athletes and artists.
However, the official inauguration of the stadium is not scheduled until July 24, 2020, the day of the opening ceremony.
In addition to the athletics events, the stadium will host both the opening and closing ceremonies as well as the women’s soccer final, an event that is expected to attract many spectators.
The construction of the stadium, designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma on the site of the now-demolished National Stadium that hosted the 1964 Olympics, will be completed almost three years after a delayed start in Dec. 2016 following a change in the original design, proposed by late architect Zaha Hadid, which was rejected owing due to its excessive cost.
The current project has a budget of about 150 billion yen (about $1.4 billion).
One of the challenges in planning the complex has been the high temperatures to which spectators and athletes will be subjected, a situation that is being addressed with the installation of fans and a water mist system.
In anticipation of possible natural disasters in a country regularly struck by earthquakes, the stadium has been designed to be able to evacuate any person in a maximum of 15 minutes.
It has also been equipped with areas to store water, cans and other utilities for those who are unable to return home in case of an emergency.
The Olympic Aquatic Centre, also part of the media tour, is 75 percent complete and scheduled to be finished by February 2020.
The Ariake Arena, which will host the volleyball and wheelchair basketball events, will be completed by the end of the year and is currently 83 percent complete.
The Olympic Village located on Tokyo Bay, which will house 10,000 athletes, is also in a very advanced phase of construction.