Ex-Aoki execs plead guilty to bribery over Tokyo Games

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Tokyo District Court in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Three former executives of Japanese apparel maker Aoki Holdings Inc. on Thursday pleaded guilty to bribery charges over the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, which took place in 2021.

In the first hearing of their trial at Tokyo District Court, the three all admitted to paying a total of ¥28 million to former Tokyo Games organizing committee executive Haruyuki Takahashi, 78.

The three are Aoki Holdings founder and former chairman Hironori Aoki, 84; his younger brother and former vice chairman, Takahisa Aoki, 76; and former senior managing director Katsuhisa Ueda, 41.

This was the first court hearing held regarding the Tokyo Games bribery scandal, with a total of 15 people indicted in the case, including Takahashi, who is believed to have received around ¥200 million in total from five companies including Aoki Holdings.

According to the indictment, the three former Aoki Holdings executives allegedly asked favors of Takahashi for six matters, including the selection of Tokyo Games official supporters, between January 2017 and June 2021.

In return, the three are suspected to have paid a total of ¥51 million through an affiliated firm to a company owned by Takahashi between October 2017 and March 2022. The three are on trial over ¥28 million of the suspected bribes, as the statute of limitations for giving bribes in Japan is three years.

In charge of soliciting Tokyo Games sponsors was advertising giant Dentsu Inc., which served as the events’ exclusive agency.