Prosecutors question ex-Games head Mori

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Tokyo prosecutors have questioned Yoshiro Mori, former president of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics organizing committee, over the unfolding Tokyo Games bribery scandal, sources said Friday.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office suspects that former committee executive Haruyuki Takahashi, at the center of the scandal, introduced Hironori Aoki, former chairman of apparel maker Aoki Holdings Inc., to Mori during the process to select Games sponsors, the sources said.

Through the questioning, the special squad of the prosecutors office apparently tried to confirm details of what led Takahashi to introduce Aoki to Mori, conversations among the three and the range of Mori’s authority as organizing committee president.

Takahashi, 78, set up an opportunity to introduce Aoki, 83, to former Prime Minister Mori around summer 2017 during the sponsorship selection process, at the request of the former chairman, according to the sources. The three met more than once after that.

The organizing committee’s members were treated as quasi-public servants banned from receiving money or goods in relation to their duties. The now-defunct committee’s internal rules stipulated that its president represent the committee and execute operations.

Mori, who had been involved in Games-related affairs since Tokyo was bidding to be the host city, became the first president of the committee set up in January 2014.

Takahashi, a former executive of advertising giant Dentsu Inc. and a towering figure in sports business circles, joined the committee’s executive board in June that year as the last of its 35 members.

Takahashi is said to have joined the board with support from other executives. The special squad apparently asked Mori about the appointment of Takahashi.