Tokyo Olympic Stadium ''90 percent complete'' ahead of December grand opening

Work began in December 2016 on Japan's new National Stadium, home to the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and football and athletics at Tokyo 2020.

The main stadium for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is almost complete and on schedule to be fully built for its targeted finish in November.

The Japan Sport Council (JSC) announced on Wednesday (3rd July) that the arena would be unveiled to the public at a lavish ceremony on 21st December 2019.

It will host sport for the first time on New Year's Day in the shape of the final of the Emperor's Cup, Japan's premier domestic football cup competition.

"Construction is in the final stages. Ninety percent of the work has been completed but there's still more work to be done." - JSC official speaking to journalists during media tour of Olympic venues

View of ground and stands of new National Stadium on 3rd July 2019
View of ground and stands of new National Stadium on 3rd July 2019View of ground and stands of new National Stadium on 3rd July 2019

State of the art

Work began on the new National Stadium in December 2016 on the same site as the main stadium for the 1964 Olympic Games.

It has a capacity of 60,000 spectators for the 2020 Games, which will be reduced by 2,000 for the Paralympics Games to accommodate greater numbers of wheelchairs.

After both Games, it will be expanded to hold 80,000.

The structure - consisting of five floors above ground and two under - is partially topped by a 60-metre-long roof made from steel and wood from all 47 of Japan's prefectures.

View of Tokyo's new National Stadium showing seats, big screen and the roof made of steel and wood from all 47 Japanese prefectures
View of Tokyo's new National Stadium showing seats, big screen and the roof made of steel and wood from all 47 Japanese prefecturesView of Tokyo's new National Stadium showing seats, big screen and the roof made of steel and wood from all 47 Japanese prefectures

After the original design by the late Zaha Hadid - the woman responsible for the Aquatics Centre at London 2012 - was shelved in July 2015 due to its excessive cost, Japanese architect Kengo Kuma was selected five months later.

Some 2,400 workers have been involved in its construction, with the media given a tour of the complex on Wednesday (3rd July).

JSC said 70 percent of the seating has been installed with the laying of the turf to start later this month.

One of the key stadium features is a wind and mist cooling system which can lower the inside temperature by up to 10 degrees Celsius.

That may well be needed during the Games - running from 24th July to 9th August 2020 - which coincide with Tokyo's hottest time of the year.

With the 2011 Tohoku tsunami still fresh in the memory, the stadium can be evacuated in under 15 minutes in the event of a earthquake.

View from inside the under-construction new National Stadium on 3 July 2019
View from inside the under-construction new National Stadium on 3 July 2019View from inside the under-construction new National Stadium on 3 July 2019

Right on track

With an original budget of 150 billion Yen (1.4 billion US$), the project has proceeded pretty much to schedule.

JSC revealed that tickets for the unveiling ceremony will go on sale by lottery in late August.

As well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, the National Stadium will host athletics and football during the Games.

There are two Tokyo 2020 test events lined up for the complex, the Japan Para Athletics Championships on 2-3 May, and the TOKYO Challenge Track Meet on 5-6 May.

Enjoyed this story? Share it with your friends!