On Tuesday, December 4th, the Lower House of Japan’s House of Representatives approved a bill that could ban the resale of tickets for entertainment events, more commonly referred to as ticket scalping. Per The Japan Times, the Lower House approved the bill unanimously.
Before becoming law, the bill must also be approved in Japan’s Upper House, where it will be voted on next week during the ongoing extraordinary session of the Diet, which is scheduled to conclude Monday. Following the likely ratification of the bill, the Japanese Government will allow a further six months to inform the public before authorities begin enforcing the new law. Tickets for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be available for purchase by Japanese residents in the spring of 2019, meaning that they’ll go on sale after time has been spent informing the public, but before the full 6 month period expires.
If approved, the new law will ban all resale of tickets for profit, including resale on the internet and by ticket-buying websites. Accordingly, the stereotypical sidewalk scalper would also be put out of business. Though many prefectures already have their own rules banning ticket resales, particularly in the vicinity of event venues, these laws do not prohibit online resale.
The bill also makes provisions for tickets that identify a spectator by name, and will require event organizers to “make efforts to identify ticket holders,” reports The Japan Times. However, resale of tickets would still be allowed in specific circumstances, including “scheduling conflicts.”
Under the new legislation, offenders could be punished with a maximum prison term of one year or a fine of up to ¥1 million ($8,800 USD), or both.
Throughout the buildup to 2020 Tokyo, the Games Organizing Committee has increasingly upped the ante in order to secure both the physical and financial security of Tokyo 2020 hosts, athletes, spectators, and local residents. Earlier this year, Tokyo 2020 verified that it will utilize facial recognition software during the Olympic and Paralympic Games as a means to verify the identities of athletes, officials, and other accredited personnel, including media representatives. According to the The Japan Times, the facial recognition software chosen by the Tokyo 2020 organizers is ‘one of the world’s most accurate systems, capable of recognizing those who have undergone cosmetic surgery, as well as distinguishing between identical twins.’ Furthermore, the facial recognition software is expected to ‘drastically increase security levels’ at the Games, ‘precluding spoofing, forgery and the use of lost or stolen accreditation,’ according to organizers.
What role facial recognition software will play in ticketing is unknown. Most likely, spectators will be made to provide a legal, photo identification upon entry to events as a means of verifying that they are the original ticket holder.