Building 2020 main stadium in Tokyo to start in early 2016

TOKYO:  Construction of the new National Stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will begin in January or February.

The government will choose a new design and builder through an international competition with the aim of completing the stadium by the spring of 2020, Sports Minister Hakubun Shimomura said on Tuesday.

The government scrapped the original design on Friday because of soaring costs which reached $2 billion. Construction of that stadium was supposed to begin in October, and be completed in May 2019 in time for that year's Rugby World Cup.

Shimomura also said he was considering setting up an independent panel to find out why construction costs of the scrapped stadium were so high.

Meanwhile, Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe criticized the government for its handling of the stadium issue.

Masuzoe wrote on his blog that the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology is "incapable and irresponsible, and that is the foremost reason behind the mistake."

He called on the Japan Sport Council, the operator of the national stadium, to suspend the activities of its advisory panel on the stadium project, saying none of the panel's members has any architectural expertise.

The governor also criticized lawmakers, contractors, and other people involved in the project for making decisions behind closed doors.