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Tokyo Olympic stadium 90% complete; opening set for December

July 3, 2019
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A general view of New National Stadium is seen during a media tour Wednesday, July 3, 2019, in Tokyo. The stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies at the 2020 Summer Olympics. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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A general view of New National Stadium is seen during a media tour Wednesday, July 3, 2019, in Tokyo. The stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies at the 2020 Summer Olympics. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

TOKYO (AP) — Tokyo’s new National Stadium is 90% completed with the opening of the Olympics just over a year away.

Media were given a glimpse inside the $1.25 billion stadium on Wednesday. It is located in central Tokyo and will be the scene of the opening ceremony on July 24, 2020. It will also be the venue for track and field and some soccer.

Organizers say they are planning events in December to inaugurate the new stadium, which was designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.

The new stadium design was first awarded to British architect Zaha Hadid, but eventually the futuristic design was scrapped by the government as the cost soared toward $2 billion.

Organizers say about 45,000 of the 60,000 permanent seats have been installed, and the grass surface should be down by the end of the month. The all-weather track will be installed in August and September.

Including the stadium, Tokyo is building eight new venues for the Olympics. The other 35 venues for the games are defined as “temporary” or older buildings that are being reused, which Tokyo organizers say has saved billions. The other centerpiece for the games will be the Olympic Village for more than 10,000 athletes being built on the edge of Tokyo Bay.

The Summer Olympics don’t come cheaply, and even existing venues need extensive renovation when the Games come to town. Exact costs — what are, and are not Olympic expenses — are difficult to sort out. But Tokyo is spending at least $20 billion to get ready, 70% of which is taxpayers’ money.

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