The Japan National Stadium is set to be privatised in 2024 ©Getty Images

The Japan Sports Agency (JSA) has delayed plans to privatise the National Stadium which was the main venue for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics - although it could still face annual public subsidies of around JPY 1 billion (£6.2 million/$7.5 million/€7.0 million).

It had been hoped that the Japan National Stadium could be privatised in the second half of 2022, but the Government agency now hopes a buyer can take over operations under a 30-year arrangement from 2024.

Annual maintenance and operation costs are estimated at JPY 2.4 billion (£14.9 million/$17.9 million/€16.9 million), with the JSA offering the potential for approximately JPY 1 billion in contributions from the state.

The JSA also confirmed that the athletics track is set to remain in place at least for the 2025 World Athletics Championships, with initial plans for its removal being reviewed.

It hopes that the revised plans for the National Stadium, which can hold around 68,000 for athletics events and 80,000 with temporary seating over the track, can encourage private companies to bid for the stadium.

The Japan Sports Council is currently managing the stadium, and is expected to continue paying around JPY 1 billion in rent even after the venue is privatised.

For 2022, it is estimated that stadium expenses cost around JPY 1.84 billion (£11.4 million/$13.8 million/€12.9 million) while generating an income of just JPY 550 million (£3.4 million/$4.1 million/€3.9 million).

Construction of the Japan National Stadium, which opened in 2019, cost a reported JPY 157 billion (£973 million/$1.2 billion/€1.1 billion).

This followed a revision to its design plans in 2015 after a public outcry at the cost of the venue.

Spectators were unable to attend events at the Japan National Stadium at last year's Olympics and Paralympics ©Getty Images
Spectators were unable to attend events at the Japan National Stadium at last year's Olympics and Paralympics ©Getty Images

The Japan National Stadium held the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and athletics events at last year's delayed Olympic and Paralympic Games.

However, spectators were unable to attend events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Games went ahead one year later then planned against a backdrop of public opposition in Japan.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that the final cost of Tokyo 2020 was JPY 1.7 trillion (£10.6 billion/$12.7 billion/€11.9 billion), roughly 20 per cent more than initial calculations.

A growing bribery scandal over the selection of sponsors has engulfed Tokyo 2020 since its conclusion, with former Organising Committee chief executive Haruyuki Takahashi on trial for allegedly receiving bribes in connection to the Games including from advertising firm ADK Holdings Inc. and stuffed toy maker Sun Arrow Inc.

Takahashi has denied all charges.

The scandal has led to Sapporo's bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics and Paralympics being paused.

The International Olympic Committee Coordination Commission chair John Coates said in the final report on Tokyo 2020 released in May that the Games "were vibrant demonstrations of the Olympic values" and "provided the opportunity for the world to unite in all its diversity, finding strength and solidarity in the darkest of times".