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SBD Global/June 9, 2014/Olympics

Tokyo Divided Over Proposed 2020 Olympics Stadium Plans

As Tokyo prepares to demolish the half-century old stadium that hosted the first Olympics in Asia, "debate is raging over whether the colossal, futuristic replacement planned for the 2020 Games will help revitalise or indelibly mar Japan's famous capital," according to Elaine Kurtenbach of the AP. Tokyo "is planning an ambitious reboot on a par with its last big reincarnation, for the Olympics in 1964." Today, Japan "faces altered circumstances." Its population "is aging and shrinking." The economy "has stagnated for two decades." The Olympics building spree "could be a welcome boon for the economy." But there "are doubts over the costs and scale of some of the proposed projects, especially an 80,000-seat stadium designed by British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid that was the centrepiece of Tokyo's 2020 bid." Prominent architects and other opponents "are petitioning the government to upgrade the existing stadium." Apart from cost, "critics are unhappy with Hadid's signature sweeping curves design, which many say resembles a bicycle helmet, and the stadium's size" (AP, 6/7).
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