Asia Minute: Tickets and Recycling for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

May 13, 2019

Credit Pierre de Coubertin (1863-1937)

The Tokyo Summer Olympics are still more than a year away, but the process of selling tickets has started — at least for residents of Japan. That got underway last week with some challenges, but organizers have already scored a victory in another area: recycling.

When the first Olympic medals are awarded next year, they will contain something special.

It’s the metal in the medals – it will all be recycled. It will all come from electronic waste extracted from used cell phones, laptops and appliances, and donated by the public.

Tatsuo Ogura of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee says the collection campaign began more than two years ago, gathering material from residents around the country — enough for 5,000 medals for the Olympics and Paralympics.

Bronze was the first to reach its target, then gold – silver was the one that took the longest.

And speaking of taking some time, the first ticket sales for the Olympics started last week — for now restricted to residents of Japan, and really just the initial steps in a lengthy process.

Organizers say the system was overwhelmed — at one point nearly 200,000 people were trying to get through at the same time with wait times of two hours and longer.

There’s no guarantee about getting those tickets — for now it just gets you into a lottery.

More than three million Japanese residents have already registered to get tickets, the first step in the process, and Olympic organizers say that ticket lottery is still about a month away.

As for those outside Japan, you’ll get your chance to get in line, but not until next month.