Japan sports minister Hakubun Shimomura resigns over Olympics stadium row

Tokyo: Japan’s sports minister said yesterday he had tendered his resignation over abandoned plans for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics main stadium after the venue’s USD2.0 billion price tag sparked a public backlash.

But Hakubun Shimomura added that he would stay in the job until a cabinet reshuffle expected next month — a request from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Hakubun Shimomura

The stadium fiasco has pushed back a new venue’s completion date, embarrassing Japanese sport officials who have also been forced to find an alternate showpiece site for Rugby World Cup matches in 2019. Japan is hosting the event.

“I offered my resignation to the prime minister over the phone last night,” said Shimomura. "I caused trouble and made the public worry." He will also return six months’ worth of ministerial salary, worth a total of 900,000 yen (R4.96 lakhs approx). Shimomura’s parliamentary salary of 1,315,000 yen per month will be unaffected, however.

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