Takahashi suspected of getting sponsorship fees diverted to acquaintance’s firm

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A vehicle leaves the headquarters of Kadokawa Corp. in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on Tuesday.

A former Tokyo 2020 organizing committee executive who has been arrested in a bribery probe is suspected of proposing that Games sponsorship fees from a major publisher be diverted to an acquaintance’s consulting firm, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

The special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office suspects that part of the sponsorship fees, which are normally paid in full to the organizing committee, was diverted to Kazumasa Fukami, 73, on the suggestion of Haruyuki Takahashi, 78.

Takahashi, who was served a fresh arrest warrant Tuesday, and Fukami have been held on suspicion of accepting ¥76 million from Kadokawa Corp. from July 2019 to January 2021 in return for favors linked to the sponsorship.

Toshiyuki Yoshihara, 64, a former director and senior managing director of Kadokawa, and another former Kadokawa executive have also been arrested on suspicion of bribery.

According to investigative sources, Kadokawa is suspected of contacting Fukami after Tokyo was selected as the Games host in a bid to become a sponsor.

After learning about Kadokawa’s inquiries from Fukami, Takahashi is alleged to have proposed the establishment of a sponsorship category for publishing to the organizing committee and Dentsu Inc., the advertising agency in charge of recruiting Games sponsors.

Takahashi allegedly recommended Kadokawa and another publisher as sponsorship candidates.

Takahashi is suspected of proposing sponsorship fees for Kadokawa totaling hundreds of millions of yen and having the publisher pay part of the fees to Fukami’s consulting firm.

The special investigation squad questioned on a voluntary basis a Dentsu official and others involved in the selection of Kadokawa as a Games sponsor.

According to investigative sources, the Dentsu official said Takahashi had suggested that the publisher pay money to the consulting firm.

Takahashi reportedly denied the allegations.