Arrests rise for bribes related to Tokyo Olympics

Tokyo, Sep 6 (EFE).- Japanese authorities extended Tuesday the detention of a former executive of the organizing committee of the Tokyo Olympic Games, and arrested three other people related to a bribery network, in a scandal that is shaking the sporting event.

Haruyuki Takahashi, 78, member of the event’s organizing committee directors board held in summer 2021, was arrested on Aug. 17 for allegedly accepting money from the well-known Japanese chain of suit stores Aoki as a consulting services.

The Japanese prosecutor’s office issued a new arrest warrant against him Tuesday after finding he also accepted money from Japanese publisher Kadokawa worth JPY 76 million (more than $ 536,000) according to local media.

Both in this case and in that of the Aoki company, from which Takahashi received JPY 51 million, the money would have been delivered to the former executive to grant both firms preferential treatment in the sponsor selection process for the Tokyo Olympics.

Takahashi joined the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee in June 2014, after the Japanese capital’s bid was victorious a year earlier.

A former manager of Japan’s largest advertising agency who also helped organize the Games, Dentsu, Takahashi was a well-known figure in the Japanese sports world and one of the key people in the now-disbanded Tokyo 2020 organizing committee.

The Japanese prosecutor’s office today also ordered the arrest of a former director of Kadokawa, Toshiyuki Yoshihara, and of Kyoji Maniwa, head of a department of this publisher whose headquarters are also being investigated by the police.

Authorities arrested Kazumasa Fukami, head of a consultancy allegedly involved in the corruption case, and are looking at another advertising company, Daiko Advertising, which could also be part of the bribery ring.

Japanese media also said the corruption could even reach the former president of the organizing committee and former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiro Mori, whose role in the case is under investigation.

The arrests add to a long list of scandals that have plagued the Tokyo Games and led to the departures of several high-profile figures linked to the organization of the event.

Among them is the resignation in 2019 of Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda, involved in a case of vote buying between other national committees to favor the Tokyo candidacy, or that of Mori, due to controversial sexist comments only five months before the opening of the Olympic event. EFE


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