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1,600 empty seats at major Japanese gymnastics competition reserved by single unpaying person

By SoraNews24

The NHK Cup is a national gymnastics competition that dates back to the 1960s and also serves as a qualifying event for gymnasts seeking spots on the Japanese national team at the Olympics and World Artistic Gymnastics Championship. Its position as both a figurative and literal springboard for young athletes, makes it a big draw for spectators as well.

This year’s event was no different, and with increasingly relaxed COVID-19 restrictions, the NHK Cup was finally expecting a relatively packed house. In fact, in the days leading up to the event, tickets were going fast for both the women’s and men’s events on May 14 and 15 respectively. In the case of the men’s event, so many were sold that additional seats were added on the third level of the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

However, when the competition was finally held, it was plain to see that the upper deck was empty and the second tier was only very sparsely occupied by spectators.

The reason for this disparity was revealed by a member of the Japan Gymnastics Association a few days later on May 18. It turns out that during the period where tickets were on sale, a single person had reserved approximately 1,600 seats, mainly on the second level, but never paid for a single one.

According to the sales records, this person had made about 600 reservations for May 14, and 1,000 for May 15. The actual attendance for each day was 518 and 1,251, which means half of the expected tickets sales were made by one individual who ultimately didn’t pay for them.

The NHK Cup’s online reservation system was set up in such a way that people could claim seats but not have to pay until a later date. If no payment was made by the deadline, then the seat opened back up. Apparently, there was no limit to how many seats a single person could reserve so by the time their deadline had lapsed, organizers had already had to make adjustments for the huge increase in demand.

To make matters worse, because of COVID-19 countermeasures no tickets were sold at the venue. Since the second deck was completely empty, gymnasium staff had to quickly usher every person who reserved a seat on the third deck down to a seat on the second level.

This situation may sound very similar to a case in Osaka in 2020, where a man reserved 1,873 seats for two professional baseball games and then cancelled all but two for himself so he’d have some space. However, unlike in that instance the Japan Gymnastics Association doesn’t appear to be pursuing criminal charges in the matter.

They did consult the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department on what certainly appears to be a textbook case of “obstruction of business” the Japanese criminal law that penalizes those who deliberately interfere with people’s ability to conduct business. However, the association only said that they would prevent a recurrence of this incident by limiting the number of tickets one person could reserve.

This could change in the future, but perhaps they felt they were partly to blame for having such a glaring vulnerability in their system and decided to just leave it at that. There’s also a chance that since they had a name to follow up on, they found that the person wasn’t acting maliciously, but just had trouble using the system themselves and made the reservations by accident.

Sources: Yomiuri Shimbun, Jiji.com

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

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-- High school gymnastics team brings much needed humor, Attack on Titan to competitions

-- Design company to hold socially distanced night saunas where you can gaze at Tokyo Tower

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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How stupid of them for not having a limit of let's say 4 tickets per reservation and taking credit card details in case someone tries to do something like the above. You should blacklist such people for making any ticket reservation for any event for the next 10 years like financial institutions do

18 ( +18 / -0 )

That's the fault of the organizers, no one else.

How do you not put a ticket limit or down payment ruling on it?

How long was the payment deadline before the actual event?

12 hours before?

Also since it was online, don't you need a credit card to reserve?

Just charge the account in full.

Lot of whackos out there, with a lot of time on their hands I suppose.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

If one thing remains constant in Japan it's passing the buck when something goes wrong.

Your booking system was a joke, you messed up, own it!

5 ( +8 / -3 )

No real problems here? They could do their sports and the visitors got even a better seat for watching. Also every ruling abided. What is this about? Can’t those mimosas just only simply cry silently into their handkerchiefs? Unbelievable, making a story or news out of such unnecessary bs.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I bet you it's that guy from Ubu who took everyone's money and hasn't returned it!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Japan the highly evolved nation strikes again !

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Why not just make people pay for the tickets when they reserve them?

And, of course, have a limit, if it's a high-demand event.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I think I'll try it then, just to see what happens when a non-Nihonjin does the same thing. Wish me luck.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Stupid accounting system deserves that outcome!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Well the organisers now have their own mental gymnastics to sole this one. That’s a lot of middle age women who missed out on banging sausage shaped balloons together.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Are the people who were in charge of ticket sales the same people that organized the COVID payments in Yamaguchi?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This situation may sound very similar to a case in Osaka in 2020, where a man reserved 1,873 seats for two professional baseball games and then cancelled all but two for himself so he’d have some space.


1 ( +2 / -1 )

If you implement a stupid system you will get stupid results. I wonder just how much was paid to which consultancy company for this farce?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"Family, friends should sue for not being able to be there..."

We are not in America [the land of the lawsuit]. There are few if any legal recourse for the lowly, insignificant individual in Nippon...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Gotta laugh about the guy who wanted space at a baseball game as maybe he also enjoys gymnastics.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No wonder that any decent business software used in Japan is imported.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan's incompetent IT skills strike again. It's the organizer's fault for not a) setting up a reservation limit per person and b) asking for credit card details and setting a time limit on payment if no cancelations or changes were made. Online reservation systems in Japan are either non-existent, or hopelessly convoluted. It's honestly a wonder how the country managed to project to the world that they are a tech savvy, tech forward and advanced society when in actuality, fax machines and floppy disks are still used and you still can't use card to pay for your purchases in many places.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

OK, which one of you people did it?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This sort of thing probably needs fixing before 4chan discover it.

It's not difficult to include a check on the number of tickets attached to one name/address/post code/IP address, reporting anything odd.

This will have cost them a sack of cash. If they use it for supporting gymnastics at a local level, that's a bad thing. I wonder if the event insurers will pay out.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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