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Tokyo’s new National Stadium completed

Tokyo's new National Stadium, started in 2016, seats 60,000 and is fully accessible

Eight months before the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo begin on July 24, construction on the new 60,000-seat stadium for the Games is complete, and it is an impressive sight. Several organizations tweeted photos of the facility yesterday where the Games’ opening and closing ceremonies, track and field events, soccer and the Paralympic Games will take place.

Photo: Twitter

The stadium, which is to be called simply National Stadium, is located in Shinjuku City, one of the busiest and most densely populated parts of Tokyo. The structure, which began construction in December 2016, is said to have cost close to CAD $2 billion. It will be owned and operated by Japan Sport Council.

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The building, which replaces the previous National Stadium, which was built for the 1964 Olympics, was designed by architect Kengo Kuma and design firm Azusa Sekkei Co. and built by Taisei Corp.

The facility’s 60,000 seats (fewer when the stadium is configured for the Paralympics, which will replace some seating with space for wheelchairs) are in a random pattern of greens and earth tones. According to a story in The Japan Timesit’s designed to resemble “a mosaic representing sunbeams filtering through a forest.”

To mitigate the extreme heat and humidity expected next summer, 185 fans will cool athletes and spectators in the stadium, along with eight mist-cooling devices.

The stadium is just one of numerous venues that will be used for the Olympics. The Ariaki Gymnastics Centre and the Olympic Aquatics Centre are both still under construction. The men’s and women’s Olympic marathon and 50K race walk will be held in Sapporo, 800 kilometres north of Tokyo.

Photo: Twitter

Stay tuned for the grand opening ceremony of the stadium on December 21, at which Usain Bolt is expected to appear. The final game of Japan’s national soccer cup tournament, the Emperor’s Cup, will take place on January 1.