The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic organizing committee has been stepping up efforts to counter ticket scalping amid concerns about massive buyout and overpriced resale, which often results in empty seats.
The committee asked the Japanese government and a non-partisan group of lawmakers in late August for legislation to clamp down on scalpers and is also planning to introduce online tickets bearing personal information and a system where purchasers can resell their tickets at fixed prices.
Online resale of tickets for concerts and sports tournaments in large quantities at inflated prices has become a social issue in recent years and the International Olympic Committee has requested a thorough crackdown on scalping so that many people can watch games at fair prices.
For the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, some 10 million entry tickets are expected to be issued beginning around the spring of 2019. Although the ticket prices are undecided, an average of 7,700 yen ($68) for the Olympics and between 25,000 yen and 150,000 yen for the opening ceremony were expected in a plan in the bidding process.
Expressing concern about ticket scalping, an official of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee said, "It will affect the Games' reputation. We want to create a framework through which we can thoroughly crack down on people reselling tickets obviously for a profit."
Current Japanese regulations have a limit. Under the law regulating the sale of second-hand goods, ticket resale can become illegal only if purchasers are found to have repeatedly resold their tickets.
Under nuisance prevention ordinances like the one in Tokyo, scalping in public places such as on roads and parks is prohibited but in many cases online space is not considered a public place.
In addition to requesting legislation specifically targeting ticket resale, the committee is also considering allowing purchasers to resell their tickets at fixed prices, printing names on tickets and partially introducing electronic tickets carrying personal information.
However, some critics have voiced concern over restricting ticket resale through legislation, saying demand pushing up prices is a principle of economy.
As for the 2016 Rio Games, ticket sales were sluggish due to economic stagnation and IOC executive member Patrick Hickey among others was indicted for involvement in a ticket-scalping scheme.
Ticket sales have been slow for the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Pyeongchang due partly to low domestic interest and the IOC has urged the organizers to boost promotion to shore up sales.