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2020 Tokyo Olympics ticket lottery opens, but heavy traffic causes access problems


TOKYO -- Traffic spiked immediately after the online ticket lottery for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games opened to residents of Japan at 10 a.m. on May 9, causing applicants to experience trouble accessing the official website.

Error messages were displayed when people tried to apply for the lottery through the website. Many complained via Twitter and on other social media, such as, "I'm being forced to wait for a long time," and, "I can't view the site."

The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games explained, "There hasn't been any particular problem. Heavy traffic is causing temporary access difficulties."

The committee, wary of the website going down among other issues, had introduced a high performance server and was urging applicants to access at a time with less traffic, as the chance of winning the lottery does not depend on the order of application. Still, people trying to view the page were shown a message to wait more than an hour as of 1:00 p.m. on May 9.

Tickets are offered for the opening and closing ceremonies as well as the events in 32 sports, except for boxing, with its place in the Tokyo Olympics yet to be determined. Applications are accepted only via the official website until May 28 and the results will be announced on June 20.

The chances of winning the lottery are expected to be low for events including the finals of the popular men's 100-meter sprint and baseball, which features Japan's star players.

Applicants must first sign up for a TOKYO2020ID by registering their personal information including home address, name and birthday. Some 2.95 million people had already signed up as of May 8.

The deadline for purchasing the tickets is July 2. According to the committee, people who do not purchase all the tickets they won in the lottery can be given a penalty of a lower priority in the ticket lottery for the Paralympic Games.

People can choose to apply for general tickets, tickets for wheelchair users and their companions, or a 2,020-yen special ticket for a group including one or more people 12 and younger or 60 and older.

A person can apply for 30 tickets of their first choice and another 30 for their second choice, but each applicant can receive a maximum of 30 tickets in total.

The committee analyzed data including for sales performances, popular sports and Japanese athletes expected to win medals, and set a higher price for tickets assumed to have higher demand.

Seats are categorized from A to E -- the most expensive being the 300,000-yen A-seats for the opening ceremony held from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. on July 24. The most expensive seats for sports events are 130,000-yen A-seats on Aug. 2 from 7 p.m. to 9:55 p.m., the day when the final of the men's 100-meter sprint is held.

Applicants will also be able to purchase tickets during the first-come first-served phase from this autumn, and ticket booths will be installed in Tokyo next spring.

For inquiries and to apply for the online lottery, please visit the official website at (in Japanese).

(Japanese original by Hitoshi Kurasawa, Sports News Department)

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