By Duncan Mackay

A late proposal by Japanese architects to renovate the old National Stadium in Tokyo has been deemed unrealistic by the Sports Ministry ©AFP/Getty ImagesA last ditch attempt by a group of Japanese architects to get the Government to sanction a renovation of the National Stadium, rather than build a new one in time for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, appears to have failed. 

A report was commissioned by the Sports Ministry following presentations by architect groups and 7individual architects, including Toyoo Ito, who claim the reconstruction of a new Stadium would damage the historic scenery of the Meiji Shrine Outer Gardens.

But the report concluded that large-scale construction work would be required to make the Stadium earthquake resistance and this would require almost all of the columns there to be enlarged up to three times their current size.

This would make walkways and waiting rooms becoming narrower and smaller as a result, inconveniencing spectators and athletes. 

It could particularly lead to problems for the Paralympics, where extensive wheelchair access will be required, according to the report, details of which have been published in today's edition of The Yomiuri Shimbun.

Experts also claimed that the seats in the northeastern area of the Stadium would cast a shadow over premises in the neighbouring Seitoku Kinen Kaigakan, one of the Japanese capital's best-known museums.

It is claimed that the shadow would violate building standards law regulations introduced after the 48,000-seat Stadium was completed in 1958 in time for that year's Asian Games. 

To counter this problem - and to ensure the Stadium fulfilled the International Olympic Committee requirement of having a capacity of 80,000 - seats would need to be removed from the northeastern section and relocated to the southwestern side, distorting its shape. 

The Sports Ministry estimated that it would cost at last JPY¥100 billion (£582 million/$967 million/€728 million) to carry out the renovations necessary so the Stadium could host the Olympics and Paralympics.

But, in real terms, that figure would be much higher because of the amount they need to spend each year to maintain it. 

Zaha Hadid's design for a new National Stadium to be built in time for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics have been at the centre of fierce debate ©Zaha Hadid ArchitectsZaha Hadid's design for a new National Stadium to be built in time for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics have been at the centre of fierce debate ©Zaha Hadid Architects

The future of the Stadium, which is also due to host the final of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, has been at the centre of growing protests since the London-based Zaha Hadid was chosen in November 2012 by the Japan Sports Council (JSC) to redesign a new arena to be built on the same site. 

As well as several petitions against Hadid's plans, which it is claimed are too expensive and would be bad for the environment, 500 people held a demonstration there last month to protest. 

They were not appeased by the JSC announcing in May they would downscale the plans for the Stadium, with a new budget totalling JPY¥162.5 billion (£956 million/$1.6 billion/€1.1 billion) being announced, almost 50 per cent less than original projections.

The Stadium was officially closed in May at a special ceremony and preparations for its demolition have already started.

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