Almost 20 per cent of Japanese residents have opted to request a ticket refund for the postponed Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, the organising committee has revealed.

After this year’s event was moved to 2021 due to COVID-19, organisers said they received some 810,000 applications for Olympic ticket refunds out of about 4.45 million tickets sold in the domestic lottery, or about 18 per cent.

Ticket holders were able to make refund applications between November 10 and 30, and the refunds will start being made later this month.

Organisers said they plan to resell the refunded tickets in the future, though a date has not yet been decided.

An organising committee official said: “We are grateful that more than 80 per cent (of ticket holders) are looking forward to the Olympics. We are moving forward with preparations for a safe and secure tournament.”

Tickets that have already been purchased for the Tokyo Olympics will remain valid for rescheduled events, but refunds have been offered for those who cannot make the new dates. The Olympics are now scheduled to take place from July 23 to August 8, 2021, with the Paralympics to follow from August 24 to September 5.

Organisers have yet to say whether spectators will be allowed into venues during the Games and have said a decision will be made on this “in the spring”. However, it was reported yesterday (Wednesday) that Japan will be able to welcome “large scale” numbers of overseas visitors without mandatory vaccinations or quarantine measures. Fans will be allowed to enter the country once they provide a negative COVID-19 test and download tracking apps, according to reports.

Image: Marco Verch / CC BY 2.0 / Edited for size