Olympics: Japan Sport Council in talks to get Olympic stadium design copyright

Architect Kengo Kuma explains his design of the stadium during a press conference in Tokyo on Dec 22, 2015.
Architect Kengo Kuma explains his design of the stadium during a press conference in Tokyo on Dec 22, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - The Japan Sport Council (JSC) confirmed on Friday that it is in talks with the architect of the rejected 2020 Olympic stadium design, after her firm reportedly refused to hand over the copyright in return for payment.

Tokyo last month chose a new, slimmed down plan for the centrepiece stadium after an earlier version designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid set off a row over its eye-watering US$2 billion price tag that would have made it the world's most expensive sports venue.

But Hadid immediately lashed out at the new stadium, claiming "remarkable similarities" between her original design and the new one by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.

"We are in talks with Zaha Hadid Architects over rewards for business generated until the termination of the contract," Noriko Tada, a representative for the JSC, which is overseeing the project, said.

She declined to comment on details of the discussions, citing confidentiality.

Hadid's firm received and rejected a request by the JSC to give up all copyrights regarding the Olympic stadium in return for payment for her design work, Jiji Press reported on Thursday.

The JSC also demanded that the firm not comment further on the stadium if it received the payment, a request it also rejected, Jiji said.

The London-based firm has demanded the JSC start negotiations over copyright issues, claiming there are "significant similarities" between the structure and layout of her original design and the new one by a joint venture led by Kuma, according to Jiji.

Hadid's firm did not immediately respond to an e-mail from AFP seeking comment.

Tokyo's preparations for the global games suffered a humiliating setback last year when the government pulled the plug on Hadid's stadium plan following spiralling costs and complaints over the design.

Under the new plan, construction is to be completed in November 2019, ahead of the January 2020 deadline demanded by the International Olympic Committee. Tokyo is due to host the opening ceremony on July 24 that year.