Yomiuri scoops press award for reports on Games bribery probe

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Officials from the special investigation unit of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office enter the head office of Aoki Holdings Inc. in Tsuzuki Ward, Yokohama, on July 28.

The Yomiuri Shimbun won a Japan Newspaper Publishers and Editors Association award for its scoop on suspected corruption linked to the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

A team of reporters at The Yomiuri Shimbun’s Tokyo headquarters broke the story about an exchange of money between a former board member of the organizing committee of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, and Games sponsor Aoki Holdings Inc., a major businesswear retailer.

The first report appeared in The Yomiuri Shimbun’s morning edition on July 20 and a special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office arrested the former board member on suspicion of bribery on August 17.

The press association announced the winners of six journalism awards on Wednesday. In its reasons for awarding a prize to The Yomiuri Shimbun, the association said the scoop was “based on a series of corroborative interviews with a wide range of parties, not only prosecutors.”

“Amid intense scrutiny over the huge amount of money involved in the Olympics, [the team] was quick to inform the public of the fact that allegations were being made against a leading figure in sports-related businesses in Japan,” the press association said.

The Yomiuri Shimbun’s Tokyo headquarters also won a technology award for a project utilizing artificial intelligence in printing presses.

The project, developed jointly with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Machinery Systems, Ltd., uses AI to support the operation of presses so that even unskilled workers can run the machines and print pages of the highest quality.

The association hailed the initiative, stating that it demonstrates the possibilities of fully automated tech and will further promote the development of AI-based technologies in the future.