The Japanese authorities decided today to extend the arrest of a former executive of the organizing committee of the Tokyo Olympics and arrested three other people related to a bribery network, in a new scandal that shakes the sporting event.
Haruyuki Takahashi, 78, and member of the board of directors of the organizing committee of the event held in the summer of 2021, was arrested on August 17 for allegedly accepting money from the well-known Japanese chain of suit stores Aoki for services. consulting.
This Tuesday, the Japanese prosecutor’s office issued a new arrest warrant against him after finding indications that he also accepted money from a Japanese publisher, Kadokawa, worth 76 million yen (about 530,000 euros), according to local media.
Both in this case and in that of the Aoki company, from which Takahashi received 51 million yen (370,000 euros), the money would have been delivered to the former executive in exchange for granting 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.
In addition, the authorities have 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 network.
The Japanese media also pointed out that 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 the scrutiny of the authorities.
The arrests add to a long list of scandals that have plagued the Tokyo Games and led to the departure of several high-profile figures linked to the organization of the event.
Among them stands out the resignation in 2019 of the president of the Japanese Olympic Committee, Tsunekazu Takeda, involved in a case of vote buying between other national committees to favor the Tokyo candidacy, or that of the aforementioned Mori, due to some controversial sexist comments and to only 5 months after the opening of the Olympic event.