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SBD Global/July 30, 2014/Olympics

Tokyo 2020 Olympics Costs Jump Amid Construction Labor Shortage

Abenomics, Japan PM Shinzo Abe’s quest to bring growth and inflation back to Japan, "has thrown a spanner in the works of Tokyo’s preparations to host the 2020 Olympic Games as a chronic labour shortage in the construction industry and inflated materials prices threaten the country’s promised compact games," according to McLannahan & Juji of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Last year the Japanese capital promised a compact games, "with all events to be staged within an 8km radius of the athletes’ village." But last week Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe "began to scout other potential sites further out to save cash." Plans to build a new marina on reclaimed land in Wakasu, not far from Harumi, for example, "may be scrapped in favour of using existing facilities across the bay in Chiba prefecture." Japan’s recovery under Abe "has caused tightness across the labour market: data released on Tuesday showed that there were 1.1 jobs per applicant in June, the highest ratio since the early 1990s." The Japan Sport Council said that demolition work ahead of the 163B yen ($1.6B) rebuilding of the Tokyo National Stadium in the city center -- due to host the opening and closing ceremony -- "has already been pushed back twice, with the latest round of bids in mid-July failing to reach the price offered." Tokyo-based architect Edward Suzuki said that the "monstrous" overhaul of the stadium built for the 1964 Games should be revised, as many of its features -- including seating for 80,000 spectators and a retractable roof -- "go beyond the requirements" of the IOC (FT, 7/29).
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