Architect Ando defends selection of Olympic stadium design as anger grows

By Elaine Lies

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In the long run, it might actually be in Japan's favor to be the first country to say: "This is getting out of hand, we need to build something within our means and make sure that it can continue to make a profit in the years to come with out becoming a financial burden to the public". The cost vs. return is getting out of hand with the Olympics and the IOC really needs to be put in check with the realities of their games..

10 ( +10 / -0 )

CH3CHO: "I would blame Zaha Hadid."

Of COURSE you would, because everyone else in the mix is Japanese. Can't be THEIR fault, right? It's CERTAINLY not the fault of the construction companies, with a WELL-KNOWN reputation for criminal bid-rigging, and who were literally featured in articles after Tokyo won the bid as "salivating at the chance to get contracts". I mean, THEY certainly have nothing to do with it! Not their fault they couldn't possibly agree to lower prices for building. And it's CERTAINLY not the government's fault! NO WAY they could have predicted costs would go up though they had already decided, themselves, to RAISE costs via increased taxes! NO WAY they knew labor costs would be higher because of a shortage due to rebuilding in the devastated areas -- I mean, they had no idea that was going on at all and no ability to predict the future beyond spending for the Olympics, right? And I have absolutely no doubt that NO money is being used illegally and there are no bribes among politicians and construction companies, etc. Japan has no history of such a thing. Ando doesn't take the lion's share of the blame, but he takes some -- I'm sure he is still collecting a paycheque while being absent for his sicknesses despite being unable to work during them; same as Mori.

As for Abe and the government's position of "wanting to listen to the public while going ahead with plans", what a crock! He 'wants to listen' about as much as you want to 'feel the heat and humidity of the outdoors while sitting inside a locked, air-conditioned room'. It's so obvious a lie. And I'm tired of the government's, "We will explain it to the public in detail to get their understanding" crap about everything under the sun, from defense to the ballooning costs of hosting the Olympics.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

I would say the majority of cost increases are construction companies who after being selected continuously raise the stakes ("We can't do it for that price because...") The national government has limitless cash after all.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Funny how this boondoggle hasn't even been built yet but it's already been declared nobody's fault (according to everyone whose fault it is, like Mr. Ando).

4 ( +4 / -0 )

damage Japan’s global reputation.

This is what all comes down to. Their image.

The thing hasn't been built yet, they CAN still change the plans, but NOoooo too difficult.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This doesn't help Japan's international reputation. It's not like they were forced to choose her design, one out of 42 or whatnot. Why complain to her? Why have an international competition at all if you didn't want a competition and not international?? The only way to complete this would be to create an Egg on Face logo

Given the general worker shortage in Japan there will still be more for vox populi to whine about as the scale of the project becomes more apparent.

Whatever the final design, costs could still rise and at that point there will be no turning back. Good to get this all out in the open now though when it's possible to change. Buyer's Remorse is expensive given the engineering planning costs.

Thinking of Tokyo as an afterthought and figuring any cost was okay isn't working out. Blaming the architects is ridiculous.

3 ( +3 / -0 )


As for myself, I'm bemused that the populace is up I arms about spending 250 billion yen on a stadium when every year the government is in the red to the tune of 40,000 billion yen paying for the rest of its reckless spending.

The stadium and the Olympics are trivial in comparison to the scale of The governments spending problem.

Whatever they do, I hope the don't sacrifice the 2019 rugby World Cup final the proper stage it deserves. Allowing the rugby final to be played at a crappy stadium with short in goal areas would be unforgivable and if Japan's government is so incompetent they should encourage the rugby union to hand over hosting rights to a country that as the ability to do it properly.

As for yourself, I presume you think the govt should just have the BOJ print the money to cover the costs?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This is what all comes down to. Their image.

It's not even Japan's image they're worried about. It's their own incompetence that'll be exposed.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Perhaps they have forgotten Nagano, for which the Olympics are still a financial burden. The news this morning mentioned that the total cost of building the stadiums for the Sydney, Athens, Beijing, London and Rio Olympics, i.e. the cost of 5 stadiums, comes to around 240 billion yen, so 250 billion yen for just one stadium seems a bit steep. Make that outrageous. Even if they were going to build it right smack in the middle of the Ginza it shouldn’t cost this much.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

In the long run, it might actually be in Japan's favor to be the first country to say: "This is getting out of hand, we need to build something within our means and make sure that it can continue to make a profit in the years to come with out becoming a financial burden to the public". The cost vs. return is getting out of hand with the Olympics and the IOC really needs to be put in check with the realities of their games..

Great post!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Why even Japan chose the design not representative of Japanese culture or values? Cost cutting by any means must be done as public is against this ridiculous amount going to be spent out of taxpayer's money just for show. Those who want to keep the design do not represent the public interest. Japan has a lot to spend for the past disasters and the disasters to come in future.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

How many people who constantly rail against Japan's fiscal debt also enthusiastically backed Tokyo's Olympics bid?

Just curious.

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damage Japan’s global reputation.

1) No it wouldn't. Japan would still be Japan. No one would care if they changed their plans except them. I don't know of a single person or government that would care. 2) The world already knows they've made a bad decision because it's been reported on world news. So if they're worried about their image, it's a little late. 3) By going forth with the plans, it would actually damage their reputation as being incompetent because everyone would know they made a bad decision pretending it's all okay.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Why not place the blame squarely on FOREX - Abegeddon-nomics and Kuroda's myopic banker's vision?

The yen has weakened by 45 % since Ando's team picked the plan. This is not Hadid's manipulation. This is clearly, short-sightedness and shifting the blame by the very people who engineered the price inflation!

Let a real and natural economy "fix" this stupidity...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Abe canned the design.

Back to the drawing board.

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Soaring construction and labor costs, along with a rise in Japan’s sales tax, are blamed for much of the price surge. - See more at:

So its not that the stadium design has caused the increase it is the following factors mentioned in the article. Perhaps tax, labour and construction costs shouldnt have changed. Are these people even qualified to forecast economic changes???

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Forget about individuals competing for who's the best. The Olympics has turned into a stadium compition, or to put it another way, "keeping up with the Joneses".

Materialism Gone Wild

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There is something called, "When you made a mistake, cut the position." Don't continue business as usual, as if bad decisions cannot be reversed; whether "Japanese way" or not is irrelevant.

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others argue that doing so would delay the stadium’s completion and damage Japan’s global reputation.

More than building an embarrassing boondoggle?

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All the real estate people I know are extremely wealthy. One realtor / developer I know has made over 500% on his latest deal in 3 months. The high cost is no mistake, it's a case of greed and nothing more.....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"...damage Japan’s global reputation." All kinds of things are justified for this...especially the happiness of individuals and communities. The scourge of nationalism!

0 ( +0 / -0 )


"I presume you think the govt should just have the BOJ print the money to cover the costs? "

And you're constantly hollering for the govt to cut it's "reckless spending" -- apart, of course, from the reckless spending on activities you happen to take a personal interest in. Too funny.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

None of this discussion has got to the REAL problem yet.

However much money it costs, and whose design they use, doesn't really make a difference. The REAL problem is that there are simply not enough skilled construction workers available in Japan to build this building in time for the Olympics.

When the Olympic win was announced, construction companies said they had to find a way to adjust Japan's immigration and migrant workers regulations to allow workers from elsewhere in Asia to support the nation's construction needs. There has been ZERO progress on this front in the two years since.

If there is a contractor out there actually offering to build a stadium for ¥250 billion, I would take that offer immediately. I don't think there is. My guess is that the stadium will eventually cost ¥400 billion, and will use Zaha's design with a bit of tinkering. The government will nationalise the project and sub-contract large portions of the construction to contractors from other Asian nations.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese Govt can afford $4 billion or whatever. Just sell some of its holding of US bonds

Any events to be held will produce ad incomes. Banners, TV sport shows, etc beside seat ticket sales

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Black SabbathJUL. 18, 2015 - 12:44AM JST Abe canned the design.

Back to the drawing board.


Not yet. Other proposals are about same price tag and so payment for current designer and current architect firm will have to be added. if new team replace Ando etc

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nonsense JeffLee. I have no interest in the spending of money on the Olympics, nor the rugby World Cup. My only interest is in the events being held properly, somewhere. Failed government planning isn't a part of that, but it does illustrate just how useless the government is at running anything.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Maybe Rugby will be held in 72000 seats Yokohama studium overctowded maybe. Y will have huge ad income and seats tickets income.

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Personally I like most 'sculptures' by Zaha Hadid but not this stadium. Kenzo Tange created some great buildings for the 1964 Olympics so maybe something for the Ando team to pick up

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Were the designs submitted with cost estimates? Even so, it would've been foolish for Ando and the panel to put complete trust in the word of designers who have no idea about the hidden costs of construction in a country that is foreign to them.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Rumors are now going around that the 2019 Rugby World Cup will not be played in the stadium.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

What a cop-out by Ando.

Yes, as one of the most famous architects in the world, renowned for eclectic but workable designs, who as head of the committee that approved the design, now says , BUT we didn't expect such costs. They are out of our control. LOL.

Everyone scurrying to save face - It's not my fault. Bleh!

And Abe bleats louder "While listening to the voices of the people..." Nauseating in the least.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Why blame Ando? Zaha Hadid proposed the plan with the price tag less than 1300 billion. Ando was the chairman of a panel that chose her plan. Now, it is said that her plan actually costs more than 2500 billion. Her plan with a price tag of 1300 billion must have looked a lot better than other plans at the competition.

I would blame Zaha Hadid.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

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