Former Games executive arrested on suspicion of receiving bribes

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Tokyo District Prosecutors Office in Central Gov’t Bldg. No.6, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, 2021.

A former executive board member of the Tokyo organizing committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of receiving bribes from Aoki Holdings Inc., a sponsor of the Games.

The special investigation unit of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office arrested Haruyuki Takahashi, 78, on suspicion of receiving ¥51 million from the Yokohama-based businesswear retailer.

Former Aoki Chairman Hironori Aoki, 83, former Vice Chairman Takahisa Aoki, 76, and senior executive officer Katsuhisa Ueda, 40, were also arrested on suspicion of paying bribes.

According to the prosecutors’ statement, Takahashi allegedly received a request from Hironori Aoki and others to give the company preferential treatment in such matters as a sponsorship agreement and deals on the production and sales of licensed products, and in exchange, Aoki’s side deposited a total of ¥51 million into the account of a Tokyo-based consulting firm Takahashi represents on more than 50 occasions between October 2017 and March 2022.

The special investigation unit has conducted daily searches at Takahashi’s home, Aoki’s headquarters and other locations since July 26.

According to investigative sources, Takahashi has admitted to receiving the money from Aoki, insisting the payment was legitimate remuneration for consulting work, and has denied wrongdoing, claiming he did not use his influence to secure favorable treatment for the retailer.

Hironori Aoki has told prosecutors that the money he provided was not a bribe, the sources said.