olympics

Tokyo subway system may not be able to cope with Olympics

40 Comments
By Yuiko Shiozawa

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2018.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

40 Comments
Login to comment

Tokyo subway has also problem of barrier-free. complicated pathway, no or very few elevator, prevents disables from using. Many disabled visitors for Olympics games will be staked.

Then I will watch such games in my home in Tokyo.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Reckless

Sorry if I did not express too well, but blob crushing crowds is not what comes to my mind.

Japanese behave like ants, erratically individually but highly organized as a group.

Have you heard ever of a crowd crushing issue resulting in injuries ?

Never. Hence my verdict.

You were talking about comfort, I was talking about safety.

You may be the one not experiencing hard pushed passengers in dire conditions to the point some faint because lack of air. It happens often in Paris during strikes...(because yes, I lived in Yokohama and did hundreds of Shinkansen+ train between Shin-Yokohama and Nagoya for your information, and going out to Tokyo sometimes of course).

So yes, pretty easy to control crowd here if less number of people per square meter with enough Japanese tourists too, I stand my ground, as former fire safety (including panick risks) engineer.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Strangerland, you never were involved in a big event such as Olympics, were you ? To be honest, it takes years at least for the planning. It is no small feat.

Um, yeah. They've been planning for years, with years of planning left.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Run as many events as you can at night. That way people might even go

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Each time I walk into a Japanese office I'm amazed by how much paper, and to-ing and fro-ing there is.

Londoners had the same fears when they hosted the Olympics in 2012, but companies helped by encouraging their staff not to use public transport during the games.

Only half the story here. Many companies provided secure encrypted internet links so you could work from home, and since they had invested in the infrastructure to enable that (a couple of years even before the London Olympics), letting me see my work screen on my home PC, and using a company phone arrangement, I was happy to stay off the trains into London and could still do my job well.

Obviously this solution doesn't work for everyone, but those companies who can implement these arrangements, should do so. It's not just about the Olympics. If the company has that operational possibility, it's also good for the future for disaster planning such as floods, storm damage, earthquakes, office fires etc.

Most enlightened companies, eight years on from that, probably have such arrangements. Those that don't, can expect some difficulty getting their staff into the office to prove a point of presenteeism.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Jonathan Prin: Crowd control is key and Japanese are quite excellent themselves regarding their behaviour.

What?!!! Have you even ever been to Japan??? Just go to any fireworks or other event and see a massive crushing blob pushing and crushing. I have no idea how you could have a positive impression.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Scrote: "Won't most of the people visiting for the olympics just displace ordinary visitors and tourists, i.e. the total number of people in Tokyo won't increase that much?"

If it were normal tourism, I would say yes, although the places still end up being somewhat more crowded than if there were no foreign tourists at all, because Japanese enjoy a lot of domestic tours that cannot be changed. The problem with the Olympics (well, ONE problem), is that the Japanese are very, very interested in how they will appear on the world stage, so they will also very much want to get in on what should be fun. So, MORE Japanese than usual will be added to the fracas. The only way to slightly decrease the projected massive increase would be to close down businesses and effectively eliminate the need for the commute, but this will never happen. At best, the government will make some days holidays, but declare it "optional" for companies to do likewise, and pretty much none will.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I like how they are just thinking of this now.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

There will be less people on trains : you can't pack Japanese match shaped like foreigners some the size of first league sumotori.

What I fear is rather the lack of width of corridors or number of exits in some places.

Crowd control is key and Japanese are quite excellent themselves regarding their behaviour.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Scrote: Won't most of the people visiting for the olympics just displace ordinary visitors and tourists, i.e. the total number of people in Tokyo won't increase that much?

However, I guess most visitors on a normal day disperse far and wide and do not all converge on a few athletic facilities. Honestly I think it will turn out fine, and I welcome the world to enjoy my daily commute quadrupled.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Won't most of the people visiting for the olympics just displace ordinary visitors and tourists, i.e. the total number of people in Tokyo won't increase that much?

There are only so many hotel rooms: once they are full no more visitors can stay in Tokyo. If the hotels in Tokyo happen to be full next week will chaos descend upon the city? I don't think so.

There may be some crowding around the main stadium, but that's hardly going to bring the subway system to a standstill. If they are sensible and start the events early in the morning before the rush it will help a lot. But I think common sense is mostly unknown here.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

London coped. Tokyo will be fine.

I’ve lived and worked in both cities and used the underground/subway.

London’s trains are pretty crowded at rush hour. Tokyo’s are bursting at the seams.

Perhaps this article is scaremongering but your comparison isn’t a very good one in this case. Degree does matter.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Is there time between now and the Olympics to do anything about this? Is there money to get it done?

To lesson the strain, Tokyo should simply build a network of protected bike lanes along with a better bicycle share system. If they want to truly impress visitors (enough with the flying car nonsense!), they should make it a world class system.

This could be done very quickly and will offer tremendous ROI for many years to come, at very little expense.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I’m commuting everyday by road bike and there is almost nothing made for the bicycle on the road (almost no bicycle lane in Tokyo, and where there is bicycle lane, there is always cars stationing on it). Pushing people to use alternative way of transport (bycicle or bus) is a good option. But the government is just sleeping and doesn't promote such alternative. Giving a bonus cashbacks at the purchase of bicycle, make the bus cheaper than the train/metro, push companies to do remote work. There is a lot of possibilities to help the situation.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Moving the capital/government to another city is one option.

In less than 2 years? You gotta be kidding right?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

combined with their welcoming kindness

You've obviously never been on a crowded metro rush-hour train in Tokyo.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@strangerland

It’s two years away from the Olympics and you are reading an article literally about Olympic planning. 

Jumping the gun a bit aren’t ya.

Is there time between now and the Olympics to do anything about this? Is there money to get it done? If it's too late to fix the problem then it's not "jumping the gun". Tokyo was selected as the Japanese candidate in 2011 and was chosen for the Olympics in 2013. November 2018 is, in fact, pretty late to not have a solid plan in place.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Bob: thought about this while I was in Japan this past June and figured for the trains at least they could easily extend the platforms and add more cars, the subway on the other hand a more challenging opportunity.

My home train stop is an elevated platform. Even if it was extended, there is a huge problem with one exit stairs. On the occasion when the trains are late (very frequent), there is already a mass of people on the platform. This is not a real possibility.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I thought about this while I was in Japan this past June and figured for the trains at least they could easily extend the platforms and add more cars, the subway on the other hand a more challenging opportunity. I have no doubt though that the ingenuity, creativity and resilience of the Japanese people combined with their welcoming kindness will succeed beyond our limited expectations and deliver to the World an Olympic Games that will be totally awesome and make both Japan and the World proud!

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

The Olympics should be in Saitama and Ibaraki (just say it's in 'Tokyo').

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It can barely cope with weekday rush hours as it is, so this aint exactly shocking news is it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

London coped. Tokyo will be fine. Enough with the scaremonger-y headlines.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

I am on the metro in Tokyo right now. It is the bane of my existence every morning. Complete lack of dignity or self respect being pushed in like cattle. Off peak is fine.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

As to why has the Olympics at being held the Tokyo (of all congested cities) is still a mystery to me, not mention, the most expensive city, just not a practical city to host the Olympics. There are other cities that would have been better to host the games.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Wasn't it Abe who had the brilliant idea of making the time when the Olympics is on a public holiday? The use of the word "brilliant" in the previous sentence is sarcasm, by the way. If they did that, there will be even more congestion as people who suddenly have time on their hands will be crowding the public transport.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The games could draw 600,000 people to the city

They knew this.

Tokyo's subway system is already over capacity,

They knew this too.

Too late to complain now. You wanted the Olympics, you got it.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Abe lied to the world about Fukushima is safe, so Tokyo Ling about hotels and public transport is not so surprising.

as I have said many times, the olympics should be shared between Tokyo and Osaka. Only 3 hours by train.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I had recommended to cooperate with China in the Olympics, but the govt wouldn't listen. It may be too late, I am afraid.

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

Strangerland, you never were involved in a big event such as Olympics, were you ? To be honest, it takes years at least for the planning. It is no small feat.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Is it possible to add more trains so they pretty much run continuous during peak hours? One rolls out another rolls in? I'm sure one train is pretty expensive.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Head in the sand, just make dedicated bus and taxi lanes on major routes and encourage people to use them

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The planners of this event didn't plan too well. 

It’s two years away from the Olympics and you are reading an article literally about Olympic planning.

Jumping the gun a bit aren’t ya.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

I wonder how much they spent for this study when anyone using the subway every day during peak hours knows how overly crowded it already is.

Efficient but crowded.

Maybe they should ban people living in other prefectures from working in Tokyo or pay extra tax.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

What an unfortunate of a fortunate event ! Instead of show case of 21 century of Japan, it becomes a minimization effort of a potential disaster. The only solution to this is for some heads to roll.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Yeah well everything in Japan is built to barely fit. Theres never any extra room.

Let me guess how it will be...

Crowded! Tough for the Tokyoites! Crowds and Megaphones! A thick sludge of humanity that barely moves!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I’m so glad I will be on vacation during the Olympics and I won’t be going anywhere near Tokyo. People are gonna get injured and there will possibly even be deaths squeezing a few hundred thousand more people into those trains.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Yubaru

Just make the time during the Olympics an official holiday for the entire country. 

I like the idea. But Japan need to do something about overpopulating Tokyo. Moving the capital/government to another city is one option.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The planners of this event didn't plan too well. Hope springs eternal when garnishing a huge salary for sleeping through planning meetings.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Isn't it a bit late to realise this?

There are way too many politicians and government workers just sitting in offices collecting salaries and doing nothing.

22 ( +23 / -1 )

Just make the time during the Olympics an official holiday for the entire country. Give everyone 1,000,000 yen a passport, and tell them to leave the country. Oh pay for the plane fare and hotels too!

If they stay, charge them 10,000 yen to use the trains!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites