TOKYO (AP) – Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics are investigating the fraudulent purchase of 6,900 tickets worth 180 million yen ($ 1.67 million) that were obtained from an online lottery for residents of Japan.
"We are consulting with the police on this matter, and if there are other cases where unauthorized purchases are suspected, we will handle this as necessary," Tokyo organizers said in a statement Monday.
The organizers were canceling tickets, but did not suggest who was involved. They said they were purchased using fraudulent IDs.
Interest in tickets for next year's Tokyo Olympics is unprecedented, with demand at least 10 times over supply and probably much higher.
Earlier this year, Japan passed a law prohibiting ticket extraction, with a fine of 1 million yen ($ 9,100) and a one-year prison sentence – or both.
However, the law has large loopholes and does not apply to tickets distributed for free or given as gifts or tickets without the buyer's name. This applies to many tickets from the International Olympic Committee, 206 national Olympic committees or major sponsors.
On another issue, the organizers announced the results of their latest lottery for residents of Japan.
The result is very similar to the first May lottery: tickets are very difficult to get and many in Japan will be left out.
Organizers say 1.4 million people signed up for the August phase and only 120,000 got 350,000 tickets.
Tokyo organizers say they have sold 3.57 million tickets to residents of Japan in both lotteries. The general Japanese public is expected to receive between 70 and 80 percent of the estimated 7.8 million tickets listed as available.
The rest are for sale outside Japan through authorized ticket dealers – Olympic agents hired to sell tickets outside Japan – or go to sponsors, national Olympic committees, sports federations and dignitaries.
Organizers are planning another lottery this fall for residents of Japan, but have declined to say how many tickets will be available.
Tokyo is a reversal of the recent Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and Pyeongchang in South Korea, when tickets were not sold and many events were poorly attended. This will not be the case for 35 million people in Greater Tokyo who wish to participate.
It is widely reported that demand is driving up hotel prices.
Ticket sales are expected to raise about $ 800 million from the organizing committee's operating budget of $ 5.6 billion.
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