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15.12.2019 Europe

Abe opens Tokyo Olympics stadium

By Paul Myers - RFI
LISTEN DEC 15, 2019

Organisers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games on Sunday unveiled the 60,000-seat stadium that will stage the opening and closing ceremonies as well as the track and field athletics events.

Constructed on the site of the arena used for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the 1.5bn euro stadium, which was designed by the star architect Kengo Kuma, has five floors above ground and two below.

There is greenery planted on the decks to provide shade from the sun. Fans and misting systems have also been installed to reduce heat and cool the stadium during the event next July and August when temperatures are expected to hit 31 degrees celsius.

Opening the facility, Shinzo Abe, Japan's prrime minister, hailed the design and its harmony with its surrounding environment.

“For this national stadium, which will be the symbol of Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic games, there were many difficulties during the construction,” said Abe.

“It is purely the result of everyone's contribution and hard work that we can finally celebrate.”

Sunday's ceremony was restricted to a small number of officials inclduing Kuma as well as Seiko Hashimoto, the minister for the Tokyo games and Yuriko Koike, the Tokyo governor.

The first competitive sporting event at the venue in the Kasumigaoka district of central Tokyo will be the Emperor's Cup football final on 1 January.