Games bribery case leads to ad agency Daiko

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Daiko Advertising headquarters is located in this building in Osaka.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Public prosecutors raided Daiko Advertising Inc.’s headquarters Monday over a bribery case involving a former Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics organizing committee executive.

The special squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office searched the major Japanese ad agency’s headquarters in Osaka and the company’s Tokyo office on suspicion of bribe-giving, believing that Haruyuki Takahashi, a 78-year-old former member of the Tokyo Games organizing committee’s executive board, had received money for mediating between Daiko and another ad agency Dentsu Inc., which was the exclusive marketing agency for the Tokyo Games.

The special squad is conducting investigations into the bribery case, suspecting Takahashi had received a large amount of money in return for connecting multiple companies, including apparel maker Aoki Holdings Inc. and publisher Kadokawa Corp., to the organizing committee and Dentsu.

In April 2014, the organizing committee designated Dentsu as the Tokyo Games exclusive marketing agency responsible for soliciting sponsors for the sporting events. Dentsu outsourced part of its operations to other ad agencies, including Daiko, which covered the service sector, according to informed sources.

Takahashi, who had worked at Dentsu, is suspected of receiving cash from Daiko through a consulting firm headed by an acquaintance in 2018 or later in return for asking Dentsu to outsource some sponsor-soliciting work to Daiko.

It has come to light that the consulting firm had received a total of some ¥70 million from Kadokawa as consultation fees in April 2019 or later after concluding a contract with the publisher over the Tokyo Games. Part of the money was allegedly funneled to Takahashi. These transactions came immediately after Kadokawa signed with the organizing committee a Tokyo Games official supporter contract as a publishing service company.

Kadokawa apparently sought advice from Takahashi through the acquaintance, and the former organizing committee member is believed to have asked the committee and Dentsu to give favors to the publisher.

On Aug. 17 this year, Takahashi was arrested for allegedly receiving some ¥51 million in total from people including former Aoki Holdings Chairman Hironori Aoki, 83, in the name of consultation fees but actually as rewards for giving the company special treatment as requested over a Tokyo Games official supporter contract and another contract to sell official licensed products related to the Tokyo Games.

Aoki has also been arrested, for allegedly giving bribes. The period of detention for Takahashi is currently set to end Tuesday.

The Tokyo Games were held in 2021 after a one-year postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic.