Campaigners claim use of rainforest timber in Tokyo 2020 stadium breaches pledges
The Japan Sport Council, the organisation responsible for the construction of the stadium that will form the centrepiece of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, is under fire from campaigners over claims that rainforest timber will be used in the construction of the stadium.
Such a move, campaign groups including Rainforest Action Network and Friends of the Earth Japan said in a statement yesterday, would be in breach of sustainability pledges made by the city and games organisers.
The campaigners have alleged that plywood derived from tropical rainforests in Borneo is being used to form moulds for the concrete structure, pointing to markings on the timber belonging to Shin Yang, a Malaysian group of businesses which they say is implicated in illegal logging and destruction of forests in Borneo.
However, the Japan Sport Council told Bloomberg that, while Shin Yang is supplying timber, it meets sustainability conditions under the organising committee’s standards.
In December, Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, pledged that the stadium will be a venue of “dreams and inspiration” even though the plans have had to be scaled down for financial reasons.
Construction work began on 1 December, some 14 months later than scheduled, after the original design plans of the late Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid had to be scrapped.
The new design, from Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, will cost around Y149 billion ($1.29 billion).
Hadid’s proposal was axed as it would have cost Y265 billion, more than double the initial forecast.
The venue, which is being built on the site of the demolished national stadium that served as the main site for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, is now due to be completed by the end of November 2019.