Ex-Tokyo Games official rearrested on suspicion of receiving bribes from Kadokawa

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Haruyuki Takahashi

Haruyuki Takahashi, 78, a former executive board member of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic organizing committee who was arrested last month on suspicion of receiving bribes from one Games sponsor, Aoki Holdings, Inc., was rearrested on Tuesday on suspicion of receiving a total of about ¥76 million in bribes from another sponsor, major publishing company Kadokawa Corp.

The special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office served the new arrest warrant on Takahashi on suspicion of bribery in return for job-related favors.

They also arrested Kazumasa Fukami, 73, the president of a business consulting firm who is an acquaintance of Takahashi, on the same suspicion.

The prosecutors also arrested two Kadokawa executives on suspicion of giving bribes. They searched for evidence at Kadokawa’s head office in Tokyo and other locations on Tuesday.

The two bribery cases together mean that Takahashi, who was a quasi public servant through his role as an executive board member of the organizing committee, has now been arrested on suspicion of having received a total of about ¥127 million in bribes from two different official corporate sponsors of the Games. The other company alleged to have provided bribes is Aoki Holdings, Inc., a Yokohama-based retailer of menswear.

The two Kadokawa officials who were arrested on suspicion of giving bribes are former Managing Director Toshiyuki Yoshihara, 64, and Kyoji Maniwa, 63, who was then a section chief in charge of Games-related affairs.

According to the announcement by the prosecutors office and other sources, Yoshihara and Maniwa asked Takahashi and Fukami to provide Kadokawa with favored treatment, mainly in the selection of sponsors of the Tokyo Games.

The prosecutors allege that Takahashi and Fukami had Kadokawa transfer a total of about ¥76 million on 10 occasions into a bank account of Commons2 Inc., a Tokyo-based business consulting firm of which Fukami is the representative, from July 2019 to January 2021.

The prosecutors allege that Fukami and Takahashi received the money as bribes.

In April 2019, Kadokawa signed a contract with the organizing committee to become an official sponsor of the Tokyo Games in charge of books and other publication services related to the Games.

Kadokawa then was given approval for issuing officially licensed goods, such as official guidebooks for the Tokyo Games, and began selling such items in April 2021.

According to sources, Kadokawa officials contacted Fukami, who was then an executive of Dentsu Inc., a major advertising agency, and sought his advice over how the company would be able to become an official corporate sponsor of the Tokyo Games.

Fukami told Takahashi of Kadokawa’s request. At the time, Dentsu was the designated marketing agency of the Tokyo Games that was in charge of soliciting sponsors for the Games.

Takahashi proposed to Dentsu that a new sponsorship framework for publishing businesses be created.

And then, Takahashi asked the advertising agency to designate Kadokawa as the new kind of sponsor, the sources said.

The special investigation squad concluded that Takahashi and Fukami had collusive ties over the alleged receipt of bribes in exchange for job-related favors.

It seems that the prosecutors also concluded that the money transfers from Kadokawa to Commons2 constituted bribery.

Also on Tuesday, the special investigation squad indicted Takahashi in Tokyo District Court on suspicion of bribery in the Aoki Holdings case.

The prosecutors allege that Takahashi received ¥51 million in bribes from Aoki Holdings from October 2017 to March this year, in exchange for favorable treatment in the company’s sponsorship contract.

The prosecutors also indicted three other suspects — Hironori Aoki, 83, founder and former chairman of Aoki Holdings; Takahisa Aoki, 76, former vice chairman of the company and younger brother of Hironori Aoki; and Katsuhisa Ueda, 40, a managing officer of the company — on suspicion of giving the bribe.

Sources said that the three admitted to the allegations.