Bear Invades Olympic Softball Stadium Ahead of Opener at Tokyo Games

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 21, 2021

FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN - JULY 21: Team Canada stand during pregame ceremonies before their game against Team Mexico during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Fukushima, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)
Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images

It appears an Asian black bear didn't get the memo on fans being prohibited from entering the venues at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Police in Fukushima confirmed a bear was spotted inside Azuma Sports Park, where softball and baseball games are being held at the Summer Games, ahead of the opener on Wednesday. Authorities said attempts to capture the bear were unsuccessful and that they'll be on the lookout should it return.

Local outlets identified the intruder as an Asian black bear, a common species in the country.

The softball tournament got underway Wednesday in Tokyo with three games. The United States was among those in action and beat Italy 2-0.

Bloomberg Green's Erica Yokoyama reported last November that bear sightings were on the rise in Japan, with one expert pointing to the COVID-19 pandemic as one possible factor. With local lockdowns limiting people's movement, the bears may have widened their territory.

In September, the town of Takikawa solicited the services of robot wolves in an effort to scare bears away, in case Olympic officials are looking for any ideas.