June 24, 2015

TOKYO (AP) The Japananese government says it will keep the existing design for the new National Stadium that will be the centerpiece of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The design by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid drew sharp criticism from her Japanese counterparts for being too big and costly. But the government has decided that making a drastic change to the design would lead to a delay in construction, Kyodo news agency reported Wednesday.

Japan's sports ministry and The Japan Sports Council, which is in charge of the project, had estimated the cost of the stadium would be about $1.3 billion but the project is now estimated to cost $2 billion.

Two massive arches that form the backbone of the stadium's roof, a feature that critics blamed for raising construction costs, will remain part of the design.

The Tokyo municipal government has been bickering with the central government over how costs of the stadium will be shared.

To slash construction and other costs, officials have proposed delaying the building of a retractable roof until after the Olympics and making some 15,000 out of the 80,000 spectator seats temporary.

Construction will likely begin in October and the stadium is expected to be completed in time for the Rugby World Cup in 2019.

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