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Japan’s Olympics, Rugby World Cup organisers counter ticketing issues

A fan takes a picture of her tickets during the Curling Mixed Doubles Bronze Medal Game at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games (by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The organising committee of the 2020 summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo has moved to cancel around ¥180m (€1.5m/$1.7m) worth of tickets after establishing they were acquired with fake IDs, while organisers of the ongoing Rugby World Cup in Japan have also warned of the consequences of buying tickets through unofficial channels.

Tokyo 2020 is operating an Olympic ID scheme for its domestic ticketing system, with Japanese residents asked to register their name and address in order to purchase tickets. However, the organising committee said around 6,900 tickets sold in the first phase of the lottery system in May were purchased using fake IDs.

In a statement reported by Japanese news agency Kyodo, Tokyo 2020 said that around 30,000 fraudulent IDs were generated during the first-round online lottery. Altogether, about 6,900 tickets for 150 sessions were purchased using these fraudulent IDs, with a face value of about ¥180m.

The tickets will be invalidated and not refunded, with Tokyo 2020 said to be consulting with the Metropolitan Police Department amid a belief that the scheme was orchestrated by a specific group. Over 7.7 million people have registered for an Olympic ID, with around 3.2 million tickets sold in the first phase.

Kyodo added that a second lottery open to those who had failed to get tickets in the first closed in August with around 120,000 winners out of more than 1.4 million applicants buying around 350,000 of over 680,000 tickets available so far.

Meanwhile, Japan 2019 and World Rugby have issued a statement amid what they say are a number of reported cases of fans having purchased tickets through unofficial sources being denied stadium access on match day.

With a limited number of tickets still available, organisers have urged fans to solely use the official ticketing portal for the tournament, adding that while the current reports of incidents are relatively small, incidences are likely to increase as the World Cup enters its latter stages.

Japan Rugby World Cup 2019 Organising Committee chief executive Akira Shimazu said: “With such incredible demand for tickets, people may be tempted to buy through unofficial sources. I can’t stress strongly enough that it’s just not worth the risk. It would be absolutely heartbreaking for any fan to be denied stadium entry due to an issue with tickets purchased through unofficial sources.”