Sources: Kadokawa sought favors from ex-Games exec

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Kadokawa Corp. logo is seen in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on Sept. 6.

A former director of Kadokawa Corp. and another executive of the major publishing firm allegedly asked for the company to be selected as a Tokyo 2020 sponsor in a meeting with Haruyuki Takahashi, a former executive board member of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic organizing committee, according to sources.

It has also been learned that Tsuguhiko Kadokawa, 79, chairman of the company, is suspected of having agreed to pay a commission to Takahashi, 78, who has been arrested on suspicion of bribery.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office has seized internal documents of Kadokawa and is investigating the details of the case.

According to the prosecutors office, Kadokawa allegedly conspired with Toshiyuki Yoshihara, 64, a former director of the company, and Kyoji Maniwa, 63, who was then a section chief in charge of Games-related affairs at the company.

Kadokawa has been arrested on suspicion of bribery for allegedly requesting favors from Takahashi in connection with sponsorship selection and other matters, and offering about ¥69 million from September 2019 to January 2021 as a reward for his efforts in lobbying the Organizing Committee.

According to the sources, around April 2016, Yoshihara and Maniwa visited the office of a consulting firm headed by the arrested Games exec in Tokyo. At the office, they met with Takahashi and Kazumasa Fukami, the president of another consulting firm and a former colleague of Takahashi when the pair worked at the advertising giant Dentsu Inc.

Fukami, 73, has also been arrested on suspicion of bribery.

At the meeting, Yoshihara and Maniwa allegedly asked Takahashi to select Kadokawa Corp. as a Games sponsor and discussed how much it would cost.

Fukami allegedly told Kadokawa Corp. that the company would have to pay ¥280 million in sponsorship fees to the organizing committee and ¥70 million to Fukami’s consulting firm.

Materials explaining the payment plan and other details, including the meeting with Takahashi and others, were compiled by Kadokawa Corp. and allegedly reported to Kadokawa. The chairman of the publisher allegedly agreed to the payment.

In April 2019, the company signed a sponsorship contract with the organizing committee. The company paid ¥280 million to the organizing committee and a total of about ¥76 million to Fukami’s company.

Kadokawa has denied the charges, claiming the payment to the company was a consulting fee based on a legitimate contract, and that he was not aware that it was a bribe.

Takahashi and Fukami also deny the charges.

Former JOC president questioned

The prosecutors office has also questioned Tsunekazu Takeda, 74, former president of the Japanese Olympic Committee and vice president of the organizing committee, on a voluntary basis, according to sources.

Takahashi became an executive board member of the organizing committee in June 2014.

The prosecutors office is believed to have asked Takeda about the circumstances surrounding Takahashi’s appointment as an executive board member and details about his duties and authority.