Japan Considers Requiring National ID to Buy & Use Concert Tickets

Over the years, this site has chronicled the issue of ticket scalping in Japan. Things really came to a head in 2016. In March of that year, Arashi announced that they would install facial-scanning technology at the concerts to thwart scalping, something that Momoiro Clover Z, B’z, and Mr.Children did in 2014.

In August of that year, the group “Tenbai No” (translation: “Resale No”) was formed. The group took out full page ads in two of Japan’s biggest newspapers, Asahi and Yomiuri. The ads read, “We are against the high-priced reselling of tickets, which is depriving music of its future.” The ad then listed the 116 music acts, 24 events, and four music organizations that agreed with Tenbai No.

m-flo was one of 116 music acts who supported Tenbai No. I immediately reached out to group member ☆Taku Takahashi for a statement on why he agreed with Tenbai No, especially since he advocates for Japanese music spreading internationally, and many felt that this group hurt the chances of international fans attending concerts while in Japan. He said that it is hard for even Japanese people in Japan to get tickets to certain concerts. However, he added, there are certain acts who do sell tickets internationally, with, bringing things back to the present, Fujii Kaze doing so this year.

Going back to Arashi, in September of that year, a woman was arrested for scalping the group’s tickets and making ¥10 million in profit in the process. Police said investigations showed that the woman purchased tickets on a website and resold more than 300 of them over the past year and a half.

That brings us to today.

In an effort to reduce scalping, the Japanese government is considering requiring the use of a national ID to buy tickets to and to attend concerts and sporting events. During so would confirm that the person attending the event is the same person buying the ticket.

Digital Minister Kono Taro instructed his ministry to begin talks with the industries this action would affect. The ministry is currently conducting experiments to see if using the national ID to buy tickets would work, with hopes that the new process can be introduced early.

Currently, many concert tickets are bought online, with the actual paper tickets being picked up at convenience stores. Using the national ID would cut out the actual paper tickets, because the ticket information would be linked to the ID when it is scanned at the venue.

The government sees the national ID as a means of going more digital. It aims to have all citizens enrolled in the program by the end of this fiscal year. However, only around 60% of citizens have enrolled so far.

In 2019, a law was enacted that banned scalping; however, it still continues. Using the national ID would aid this law.

For this new proposal to work, venues would have to install new techonolgy to scan the IDs. There is also the issue of people who do not have a smartphone, which the ID is linked to, or people who buy tickets in bulk for their family to attend together. There are also concerns about the leaking of private information.

So where does this leave us international fans? While more and more Japanese acts were touring overseas pre-COVID, with plans for that to resume soon, many acts have no plans to do so.

In the end, I echo what I said in 2016: I encourage all of you, the readers of this site, to reach out to your faves on social media and make your voices heard! It may not result in anything, but at least an effort would’ve been made! Often times, fans of Japanese entertainment don’t reach out that much, and it plays a part in why we were / are ignored by so much by the industry. Things are progressing though. More acts are going overseas. I was able to see Sakanaction in 2018 in Saitama when they released tickets to international fans. As I mentioned, Fujii Kaze did the same thing this year. And then there’s always Japan being Japan and messing things up, so this proposal may just die next week.