The Tokyo 2020 Olympics: what you need to know

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics: what you need to know

Whether your flights are booked or you’re just now considering going, here are some insider hints and helpful advice to ensure a memorable time in Japan.

On Thursday, Jan. 16, more tickets for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be available for purchase to those living in the United States, Australia, Europe and the Middle East. Released at staggered times, this latest block of tickets will be offered in addition to tickets to the Paralympic Games currently available for sale.

The sporting world will descend on Tokyo for the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games. An estimated 600,000 overseas visitors are expected to flock to the Japanese capital and surrounding regions, and the Games –  as they are every four years – will be an endurance test of planning and logistics for organizers and attendees alike.

But there are ways for international guests to make the most of their stay in Tokyo and help ensure the smooth operation of the Games.

Have tickets? Or considering going? The following guide will help answer your burning questions about the 2020 Olympics and provide insider hints and tricks to have a memorable time in Japan.

Attending the Games

When are the Games? Where are the venues?

The 2020 Olympics will officially kick off with the opening ceremony in Tokyo on July 24, with preliminary softball and soccer matches starting on July 22, and run through August 9. Following a two-week breather, the Paralympics will begin August 25 and conclude September 6.

The Games will be held across nine prefectures, with the majority taking place in two areas of Tokyo: the Heritage Zone, using revamped buildings from the 1964 Olympics, and Tokyo Bay Zone, designed to serve as a “model for innovative urban development.”

Venues outside of Tokyo include the Sapporo Dome on the northern island of Hokkaido (hosting soccer) and the Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium in Fukushima.

What are the new sports?

Five new sports will be added to the Olympic lineup, which now stands at 33: Skateboarding, “sports climbing,” surfing and, appropriately for Japan, baseball and softball, and karate. Existing sports, such as canoeing, kayaking, boxing and fencing, will also see a rebalancing with additional events added, primarily with an eye toward increased gender equality.

How can I get tickets to the Olympics? Is it too late?

The first round of Tokyo Olympics ticketing was limited by lottery system to residents of Japan and closed on May 28. A subsequent “relief measure” lottery was held in August. Paralympic tickets were also awarded on a lottery basis, and closed on September 9.

Thirty percent of an estimated 7.8 million have been set aside for overseas visitors, sold by “Authorized Ticket Resellers.” For those in the United States, ticket sales will be handled by CoSport and went on sale in July. As of this writing, all available tickets have been sold, although subsequent rounds of ticketing are expected to take place on an ongoing basis before the start of the Games. The first in 2020 was scheduled for Jan. 16.

The Tokyo Olympics organizing committee will also host an online resale site beginning in the spring, with ticket prices capped at the original face value. Available for both foreign visitors and Japanese residents, the official resale service may provide relief for those shut out of the initial rounds of ticketing.

What happens if I can’t secure any tickets at all?

Lack of tickets does not necessarily mean a lack of Olympics fun in and around Tokyo. The organizing committee has approved 30 “Live Site” venues across Japan for non-ticketholders, including in areas affected by the Tohoku and Kumamoto earthquakes. These sites will feature live televised sports broadcasts, cultural events and among other programs, attendees will have the chance to try out various Olympic and Paralympic sports.

Is it true that I won’t be allowed to post photos of events to social media?

Shortly after the first round of tickets went on sale in Japan, controversy arose over certain aspects of the terms and conditions attached to the purchase of tickets, namely, the transfer of intellectual property rights of photos taken by attendees at Olympic events to the organizing committee. Would this mean then that the Committee – notorious for protecting its I.P. rights – would then crack down on social media photos?

Organizers have clarified that, while the Committee is in fact claiming copyright over photos taken by ticketholders, it will not prevent those photos from being posted to social media. Only commercial reproduction of photos will be disallowed. Controversially, however, audio and video clips taken by spectators are not permitted to be posted on social media. Organizers are expected to be vigilant in filing takedown notices with social media networks

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