It's not only tickets to Olympic events that appear in short supply. According to a report on TBS Television (July 15), the city faces a serious shortage of overnight accommodations next summer. As evidence, it pointed out that people who have already obtained tickets to Olympic and Paralympic events are now learning to their chagrin that there are no rooms at the inn.
Increasingly, word has been circulating of the difficulty of finding accommodations.
A woman who lives 90 minutes from central Tokyo managed to obtain tickets to the men's gymnastic finals and also the final event of track-and-field.
"I was overjoyed," she told the reporter. But both events are scheduled to end after 10 p.m., and considering the long commute home, she began looking for accommodations close to those events. Booking a hotel room turned out to be impossible.
"There are about 15 hotels nearby, from business hotels to tourist class places," she related. "I contacted them one after the next, but none of them had a vacancy for July 25, I was told."
"We're really sorry," the hotel staff told her. "All our available rooms have been reserved by the 'Olympic association,' so we are unable to accept any requests."
A member of the Olympic organizing committee told TBS some 46,000 room-nights have been booked in advance for people involved in the games. It was said, for instance, that branches of the Washington Hotel chain have been completely sold out to the people involved in the games.
"Obviously you can't have a situation with no accommodations for people involved with the games," head economist Toshihiro Nagahama of the Dai-ichi Insurance think tank is quoted as saying. "So it makes sense to secure them at an early stage."
In addition, the teams from various foreign countries have already grabbed other accommodations for themselves. While some of these reservations may prove unnecessary and will be cancelled, at present they are still unavailable, and no one can be certain of the eventual quantity.
"Take the Ariake area in Koto Ward," said one reporter. "There's going to be lots of events around here. All 830 rooms in the nearby Washington Hotel have already been taken over by people involved in the games."
According to the hotel, the organizers would adjust their final request for room reservations sometime this autumn, and reservation requests for any remaining rooms would be accepted from around November.
Meanwhile another complaint has surfaced: "While the games venues are barrier free, such is not the case for either hotels or for minpaku (accommodations in private lodgings)," complained a wheelchair-bound woman who has obtained a ticket. "I'm hoping that handicapped people like myself won't have a hard time getting around."
If fans, tourists and the handicapped are excluded from the fun, it would certainly dash cold water on the pledge of omotenashi (hospitality) that Japan made to secure the hosting of the 2020 games, the article concludes grimly.© Japan Today