Protest in Tokyo against proposed Olympic stadium

Tokyo 2020
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Holding red balloons and waving placards saying “We want a compact and economical Olympics” and “Reverse the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” about 500 protestors marched around Tokyo’s National stadium on Saturday, the AP reports.

56 years after it was built for the 1960 Tokyo Summer Olympics, the current 48,000-seat stadium is scheduled to be demolished this month. In its place a 80,000-seat facility with a retractable roof and a bold futuristic look–some have compared it to a bike helmet–will be built to serve as the centerpiece of the 2020 Games.

Criticism against the size and scale of the stadium has already had an effect. Last November, Japan’s Sport Council agreed to reduce the building’s size by 25 percent and cut construction costs from $3 billion to $1.8 billion.

However, opponents of the Zaha Hadid-designed building are still urging the government to renovate the current facility. They worry, Architectural Record reports, that the new design will upset the balance of tranquil green spaces and athletic facilities currently at the site.

After the 2020 Games the venue is envisioned as a site for rock concerts, another point of contention. Critics believe the space won’t be used frequently enough to justify its operation and maintenance costs.

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