From: Peter Rivard
Subject: Japan in a nutshell
From Slate.com. The article goes on to note that Sapporo's new stadium will be used three times. In fact, 8 of the 10 built in Japan will have no real use after their three or four World Cup games. Since they will exist and will have to be justified, a few events here and there will be moved into them, but those will always be things that could have been held elsewhere. It's hard to believe that anyone thought that each game in Sapporo would bring in more money than the $133 million per game the government spent on the stadium. Note that Japan had the developed world's highest per-capita debt before all this; but even if most people here starve to death, the real constituency of the Japanese government, the construction company heads and mobsters, will have been well served by this project. Anyways, this article shows the attitude that has led to the amount of concrete per unit of land area to be over 1000 times higher in Japan than in America (this is a true statistic, by the way).
- Japan's World Cup Delusion
By David Plotz
Posted Friday, May 31, 2002, at 8:00 AM PT
Japan, which builds superhighways for teeny villages, billion-yen bridges to empty islands, and flood-control dams for streams that couldn't soak your basement, today introduces its latest public works boondoggle: 10 World Cup stadiumsshapely, modern, spectacular white elephants.
Unwilling to be one-upped by its former colony/little brother/bitter rival South Korea, Japan has matched its World Cup co-host stadium for stadium. In 1998, France needed only 10 stadiums to host the entire cup. This year, Japan and Korea are using 10 stadiums each, and all but two were purpose-built for the cup. France spent $1.5 billion on its stadiums; Japan alone has spent three times as much.
Japan's stadiums have laser-guided johns, earthquake-proofing, winged roofs, retractable roofs, grand swooshing roofs. The stadium I visited this spring in Sapporo is a ludicrous marvel. It is a domed stadium with artificial turf, but a grass soccer field sits just outside the east wall. On soccer game days, the wall slides open, a bank of seats retracts, and the turf fieldfloating on an air cushionis rolled indoors. Then the wall closes, the turf field is rotated 90 degrees, andvoilàan indoor, grass soccer stadium. This insanity cost $400 million, plus $15,000 every time they move the field.