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Los Angeles could learn some Olympic lessons from Tokyo

Los Angeles could learn some Olympic lessons from Tokyo
Tokyo Olympic officials have scrapped plans for the National Stadium for the 2020 Summer Games because of rising construction costs, which would have topped $2.1 billion. (Japan Sport Council / AFP/Getty Images)

Los Angeles residents curious about the business of hosting the Olympics should look to the west, where Tokyo is fighting to control its budget for the 2020 Summer Games.

On Friday, Japanese officials approved new guidelines for the construction of a national stadium. The previous plan -- which would have cost $2.1 billion -- was recently scrapped.

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"We should make a structure that will emotionally move people all over the world," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was quoted as saying by the Reuters news service. "Of course, keeping costs down is a priority, and we must make the best, realistic plan we can."

The original proposal called for a modernistic stadium that looked like a giant bicycle helmet. It came under scrutiny when projected costs rose dramatically.

It is not uncommon for host candidates to put forth spectacular plans during the bidding phase, then make changes after being selected by the International Olympic Committee, but Japan is shifting gears on its stadium relatively late in the game.

Officials expect to complete the revised venue in the spring of 2020, mere months before the opening ceremony.

Though the new guidelines emphasize economy, they have not set any limit on spending.

Los Angeles, which is moving closer to bidding for the 2024 Summer Games, could avoid building a stadium by making use of a renovated Coliseum instead.

Officials would join forces with USC, which has already announced its intention to spend tens of millions of dollars -- if not more -- on the aging venue.

That plan could change if the city gets a new NFL stadium by 2024.

Follow David Wharton on Twitter @LATimesWharton

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