Fourth bribery-related arrest warrant looming for Tokyo Games exec

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Tokyo Olympic mascot Miraitowa, left, and Paralympic mascot Someity are seen in Tokyo in 2018.

Prosecutors plan to serve a fourth arrest warrant on Haruyuki Takahashi, a former executive board member of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic organizing committee, on new allegations that he took a bribe related to sales of stuffed toys of the 2020 Games’ mascot characters, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

The special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office suspects that Takahashi, 78, received a bribe from Sun Arrow Inc., which sold stuffed mascot toys, and that this constituted a bribe in exchange for favorable treatment of the company. Prosecutors believe Takahashi received a total of about ¥8 million in cash.

Takahashi has already been served with three arrest warrants, on suspicion of receiving bribes from three companies in exchange for favorable treatment. Prosecutors allege that he received about ¥142 million total from men’s wear chain Aoki Holdings Inc., major publishing company Kadokawa Corp. and leading advertising agency Daiko Advertising Inc.

Sun Arrow sold stuffed toys of the Games mascot characters — Miraitowa and Someity — as officially licensed goods from July 2018.

According to sources, Takahashi is suspected of asking the organizing committee, at the request of Sun Arrow officials, to allow the company to sign a contract to sell licensed goods. Sun Arrow transferred money to a business consulting firm run by an acquaintance of Takahashi from around 2018, and the firm gave Takahashi about ¥8 million, the sources said.

The firm run by Takahashi’s acquaintance is believed to be dormant, as it did not have an office at the address written on its corporate registration document. Prosecutors also suspect that Takahashi instructed Sun Arrow to send the money.

Takahashi is further believed to have asked Dentsu Inc., which was an official marketing agent for the organizing committee, to give preferential treatment to ADK Holdings Inc., a major advertisement agency, so that ADK Holdings would be able to take charge of work related to sponsorship contracts for the Games.

ADK Holdings also transferred about ¥20 million to the dormant company of Takahashi’s acquaintance in 2018.

Prosecutors on the special investigation squad are looking into the flow of funds.