Investigation into the corruption scandal related to the Tokyo Olympics in Japan and new investigation of the Sapporo ad agency Dentsu
TOKYO (AP) — Japanese prosecutors raided the headquarters of major advertising company Dentsu on Friday, as the investigation into corruption related to the Tokyo Olympics widened.
Dentsu, which is Japan’s largest ad agency, and five other firms have been indicted for their alleged roles in bid-rigging ahead of the Olympics in South Korea. The deepening scandal suggests that preparations for some of the world’s highest-level sporting competitions were anything but competitive.
The ex- Dentsu executive was arrested on suspicion of corruption in the Olympics. The former Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee member is believed to have been bribed in order to get sponsorship deals for the Olympics.
According to Japanese media reports, bid-rigging is the topic of a new investigation. The test events started in 2018, spanning various sports including sailing and weightlifting, to prepare for the Olympics. Being chosen for test events is critical to being picked for actual Olympic venues.
According to the newspaper, there were nine companies and one organization involved in the bid-rigging.
The companies involved in the earlier sponsorship scandal include Aoki Holdings, a clothing company that dressed Japan’s Olympic team, and Sun Arrow, which produced the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic mascots named Miraitowa and Someity.
Dentsu did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Cerespo, an event company that Japanese reports said also was raided on suspicion of involvement in bid-rigging, did not have an immediate comment.
Tokyo prosecutors do not comment on such daily news developments. The investigation was ongoing on the Olympics, according to the deputy chief prosecutor.
The city of Sapporo is located in northern Japan. Sapporo is the front-runner among possible hosts of the 2030 Winter Games. But it suspended promotion of its bid in December, amid public outrage at the corruption scandals. Concerns about climate change have caused the IOC to delay the selection of a games host.
Prosecutors issued the indictments after receiving complaints from Japan’s Fair Trade Commission. The complaints say that Dentsu, its main rival Hakuhodo, and four other firms and seven individuals rigged bids for Olympic test events.
The dress rehearsals were for the test of Olympic venues and were for athletes and staff to get a feel for them. Despite widespread opposition, the games were held despite being delayed by a year.
French prosecutors have also investigated Takahashi, on suspicion that he bribed a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), in a bid to secure Tokyo’s right to host the games.
The Governor of Tokyo says that she will seek damages from Dentsu and others if the allegations of bid rigging are proven.