Prison Term Sought for Ex-Aoki Head over Tokyo Games Bribery

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Former Aoki Holdings Chairman Hironori Aoki runs in the Olympic torch relay in Nagano Prefecture in 2021.

Prosecutors on Wednesday sought a 2½-year prison term for the former chairman of business apparel chain operator Aoki Holdings Inc. in a bribery case connected to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

In the closing argument at the Tokyo District Court, the prosecution said Hironori Aoki, 84, “used the Games for personal greed, eroding confidence domestically and abroad in the Games’ operations,” adding the “extreme maliciousness” of his actions warrants a prison term of 2½ years.

The prosecution also asked for 1½ years in prison for Takahisa Aoki, 77, the company’s former vice chairman, and one year for Katsuhisa Ueda, 41, a former senior managing director.

All three had pleaded guilty to the bribery charges in December.

The defense argued for handing the trio suspended sentences.

The court is scheduled to issue its ruling on April 21.

According to the indictment, the three defendants asked former Tokyo Games organizing committee executive Haruyuki Takahashi, 78, to give the company favors over Tokyo Games sponsorship contracts and contracts to sell licensed goods. The bribes paid amounted to ¥28 million between September 2019 and March 2022.