Japan makes arrests on bribery suspicions in Tokyo Olympics

Haruyuki Takahashi, a former executive at advertising company Dentsu, is credited with landing USD 3 billion in local sponsorships for the Tokyo Games.

Published: 17th August 2022 02:00 PM  |   Last Updated: 17th August 2022 02:00 PM   |  A+A-

Haruyuki Takahashi, executive board member of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. (Photo | AP)

Haruyuki Takahashi, executive board member of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. (Photo | AP)

TOKYO: A former Tokyo Olympic organizing committee board member and three people from a clothing company that was a surprise sponsor of the 2020 Games were arrested on bribery suspicions Wednesday.

Haruyuki Takahashi, a former executive at advertising company Dentsu, is suspected of receiving bribes from the former head of Aoki Holdings Inc. and two company employees, the prosecutors’ office said.

The company that makes affordable business suits was a surprise pick to dress the Japanese Olympic team when other nations had top fashion brands designing athletes' outfits. Aoki is linked with Japan’s so-called “recruit suits” that youngsters fresh out of school wear for job interviews and their first jobs.

Bribery is believed to be linked to the sponsorship of the Games and products related to the Olympics. Although corruption at top places among Olympic officials had long been rumoured, the arrest comes as a blow to Japan’s Olympic ambitions.

Takahashi is credited with landing USD 3 billion in local sponsorships for the Tokyo Games. Japan also is pursuing the 2030 Winter Olympics for Sapporo.

Aoki said it was still looking into the matter and did not have an immediate comment. The Japanese Olympic Committee was not immediately available for comment.

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Japanese media reports said Takahashi denied wrongdoing, stressing he was paid for consulting services.

Tokyo played host to the Tokyo Games with much fanfare, as well as criticism, in the summer of 2021. The event was postponed for a year and held with no public ticket sales because of the coronavirus pandemic.

That came as a disappointment, as the Games were supposed to have drummed up tourism revenue, and put the spotlight on Japan’s prowess in a similar way as did the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

The official price tag for the latest Tokyo Games was USD 13 billion, mostly public money. That was double the initial estimate when the International Olympic Committee awarded Tokyo the Games, but less than the USD 25 billion some had predicted.



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