October 07, 2014
FILE - In this May 25, 2014, a man walks on the spectators stand to take photos of volunteers forming "Tokyo 2020" to promote the 2020 Olympics hosted in Japan, at the National Stadium in Tokyo. A new round of bidding for construction of the main stadium
Eugene Hoshiko, File

TOKYO (AP) A new round of bidding for the demolition of Tokyo's old Olympic stadium to make way for a new main stadium for the 2020 Games will delay the start of the problematic project.

Some of the bids were reviewed by someone in the decision committee before all bids were in, a violation of the rules, Japan Sport Council official Takayuki Ito said on Tuesday.

Another round of bidding is due this month. But he said work will be fast-tracked, and the stadium will meet its March 2019 deadline.

''We need to revamp the whole system of planning for the Olympic stadium,'' he said, acknowledging there were too many problems.

Ito declined to say who broke the rules, but suggested it was an error and not a malicious act.

Plans for the stadium, designed by award-winning British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, have been plagued by problems, including complaints from some prominent architects, who say the design is too big and expensive.

The 80,000-seat, futuristic design to replace the National Stadium was initially projected to cost 130 billion yen ($1.3 billion), but the estimate quickly ballooned to more than double that. It is expected to be scaled down.

There have been other problems in the bidding as well.

In the first round of bidding, announced in March, all the bids surpassed the estimated costs and were rejected in May. In June, it was found that some bids were lower than the level set as the standard. A month later, complaints of bid-rigging surfaced. But an internal investigation in July and August found no evidence of bid-rigging, the council said in a statement last month.

Ito denied any scandal in the lowest bid getting rejected, and said it did not meet the required standard.

Demolition of the old stadium will start in the middle of December, delayed by more than two months from the initial schedule.

The council promised to introduce electronic bids and better educate council members to avoid future problems.

The 54,000-seat National Stadium, built in 1958, was used for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

The site, in a downtown Tokyo park, is within walking distance of a landmark Shinto shrine and a famous venue designed by Kenzo Tange for the 1964 Olympics.

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Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at twitter.com/yurikageyama

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