Hakuhodo, Tokyu advertising agencies raided over alleged Tokyo Games bid-rigging

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office and others enter the building that houses Hakuhodo Inc. in Minato Ward, Tokyo, on Monday Morning.
The Yomiuri Shimbun
The building in which the headquarters of Hakuhodo Inc. is located.

The headquarters of major advertising agencies Hakuhodo Inc. and Tokyu Agency Inc. were searched by members of the special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office and the Japan Fair Trade Commission, on Monday morning. The raids, investigating suspected violations of the Antimonopoly law, took place amid growing suspicions that several companies engaged in bid-rigging for test events held ahead of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

Suspicions of coordination came to light as investigators raided the headquarters of advertising giant Dentsu Inc. on Friday, and major advertising company ADK Holdings Inc. admitted to their involvement.

At around 10 a.m. on Monday, six people, including those from the investigation squad, entered the building in Minato Ward, Tokyo, where Hakuhodo’s headquarters are located. Event-planning company Same Two Inc. and TV program production company Fuji Creative Corporation were also searched.

Sources said that investigators suspect bids were rigged in planning work for test events. A total of 26 such bids were submitted by the Tokyo Games organizing committee in 2018 in the competitive process in which the winners would be determined via general evaluation.

Hakuhodo won two bids for Oi Hockey Stadium and other venues, worth a total of about ¥40 million. The advertising company also had a private contract for the same kind of work at Kokugikan Arena after the project failed to attract bidders.