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Japan bans ticket scalping ahead of major sporting events

Japan’s parliament has rubber-stamped a bill that will ban ticket scalping as the country prepares for two years of major sporting events.

It was initially revealed in December 2017 that the government planned to submit a bill to control online ticket resale and tackle touting in the country ahead of the 2020 summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

This bill has now been unanimously approved by the House of Councillors and is set to be formally introduced on June 8, 2019. The bill bans the resale of tickets at prices higher than face value, along with purchasing tickets for the purpose of scalping. Those infringing the new law face jail terms of up to one year, fines of up to JPY1m (£7,010/€7,773/$8,847), or both.

While ticket brokering on streets and other public places had been prohibited under local laws, there had previously been no formal law in Japan to control online scalping of tickets for popular sports and entertainment events.

Tickets that specify seats or require the identity of the purchaser will be subject to the new law, which also calls on event organisers to make efforts to identify ticket holders. The Tokyo 2020 Local Organising Committee had requested a legal framework to prevent ticket resale prices being dramatically inflated for the Games.

Ticket sales for the Olympics and Paralympics are due to commence next year. Japanese residents were able to register their interest in Olympics tickets from July via the event’s online platform. Organisers confirmed sports fans will be able to apply for tickets from next spring after unveiling the event’s ticketing structure and price details. Half of tickets available will cost less than JPY8,000 with “millions of tickets at affordable prices”.

In August, Tokyo 2020 set a ceiling of JPY7,000 as the maximum price of tickets for sports events at the Paralympic Games. Japan will next year host the Rugby World Cup, with organisers revealing last month that more than 4.5 million applications had been received as the first tickets for the tournament were allocated following a public ballot.

Some 300,000 tickets were available for the tournament, which runs from September 20 to November 2. The next opportunity for the general public to purchase tickets begins on January 19, when first-come-first-served ticket sales commence.