2020 Games Bid Rigging in Japan Clearer via Seized Emails

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office’s special investigation squad member leaves the home of former Tokyo Games organizing committee official Yasuo Mori in Kawasaki on Wednesday.

Prosecutors have seized emails indicating that Yasuo Mori, former deputy executive director of the 2020 Tokyo Games organizing committee’s Operations Bureau, instructed participating companies to arrange their bids with Dentsu Inc. and received reports of the bid rigging results, according to sources.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office’s special investigation squad believe the emails are evidence that show Mori led the bid rigging by using the influence of the organizing committee, which offered invitations for bids.

Four people, including Mori and former Dentsu sports department assistant chief Koji Henmi, both 55, have been arrested on suspicion of violating the Antimonopoly Law, which prohibits unreasonable restraint of trade. They were allegedly involved in misconduct from around February to July 2018 in which seven companies, such as advertising giants Dentsu and Hakuhodo Inc., rigged bids for contracts to plan Tokyo Games test events and execute the operation of the Games.

According to the sources, Mori and others asked participating companies about their requests concerning the bidding, then created and shared a list of these requests by competition venue before bidding for event planning was conducted. During this process, Mori asked the companies to make arrangements with Henmi and received reports by email from the companies, such as one saying, “We discussed the matter” with Henmi.

The organizing committee initially considered offering participation in event planning under negotiated contracts. But around March 2018, it decided to offer invitations for bids, as calls grew for reducing the financial amount of the offers and giving consideration to fairness, according to the sources.

Around this time, Mori and others began to update the bidding list frequently and accelerated efforts to arrange bid rigging, the sources said.

According to sources, Mori has admitted to the allegations, saying: “I wanted to have all the bids accepted in order to prevent disruptions in the operation of competition venues. The companies were also aware of the situation and complied with the request.”