Tokyo Olympics: Former official arrested for bribery

Dthe Olympic Games in Tokyo have been over for more than a year, but the scandals don’t stop. On Wednesday, Tokyo prosecutors arrested Haruyuki Takahashi, a former director of the games organizing committee, which is in the process of being dissolved. 78-year-old Takahashi is one of the most connected men in Japanese sports marketing. He is suspected of accepting a 51 million yen ($400 million) bribe from one of the local sponsors, clothing retailer Aoki. The company’s founder and former chairman, Hironori Aoki, was also arrested, along with his younger brother and a manager.

Patrick Welter

Correspondent for business and politics in Japan based in Tokyo.

Takahashi and Aoki deny the allegations. But the incident casts a shadow over the Japanese city of Sapporo’s bid to host the 2030 Winter Olympics. Yuriko Koikesaid after the arrest became known: “I am very disappointed.”

Sponsors are very important for the Olympics

Aoki sells inexpensive business suits. The company became one of the local sponsors of the Games in October 2018 and was awarded the right to advertise with the Games logo. The company has sold more than 30,000 suits with the Olympic emblem. Aoki also provided clothing for the Japanese athletes.

A year before the sponsorship deal, a company founded by Takahashi had signed a consulting deal with Aoki worth around 1 million yen a month. The prosecution suspects that Takahashi, in return, gave the suit manufacturer advantages in the selection of sponsors. According to media reports from the public prosecutor’s office, the arrested Aoki is said to have had “high hopes for Takahashi’s power”.

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