Dentsu Pleads Guilty to Most Charges over Tokyo Games

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

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Dentsu Group Inc. and a former official of the major advertising group, at their first court hearing Thursday, pleaded guilty for most of their charges over alleged bid-rigging linked to the Tokyo Summer Olympics and Paralympics in 2021.

Meanwhile, the company and Koji Henmi, 55, former assistant head of the sports department of subsidiary Dentsu Inc., refrained from saying whether he admits or does not admit the other charges.

Over the high-profile scandal, Dentsu Group, rival ad agency Hakuhodo Inc. and four other companies, and seven people, including Henmi and Yasuo Mori, 56, a former official of the Tokyo Games organizing committee, have been indicted for allegedly violating the antimonopoly law.

The day’s hearing, held at Tokyo District Court, was the first for any of the six firms.

According to the indictment, Henmi conspired with Mori and others to decide winners in advance for bidding for planning Tokyo Games-related test events in February-July 2018. They are also suspected of allowing only the preselected winners to participate in the bidding.

At his first hearing on July 5, Mori pleaded guilty and apologized.

Public prosecutors have pointed out that Henmi and Mori colluded to increase the profit margins of the six companies by coordinating and selecting successful bidders through checking each company’s intentions.