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Japan: Kadokawa Chairman arrested in Tokyo Olympic bribery case

The Tokyo District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday arrested Kadokawa Chairman Tsuguhiko Kadokawa, 79, on suspicion of offering bribes totaling about ¥69 million to the former head of the Tokyo Games Organizing Committee.

Prosecutors suspect Kadokawa of bribing Haruyuki Takahashi, 78, a former Dentsu executive and prominent figure in the sports business world. Takahashi is at the center of a growing bribery scandal that engulfed the Tokyo Games, which were held last summer after a one-year postponement.

Between September 2019 and January 2021, Kadokawa is suspected of transferring funds from the firm’s bank account to a consulting firm run by Kazuma Fukami, 73, also a former Dentsu employee, as a reward for giving the publisher a selection advantage. as a sponsor of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

Kadokawa became a sponsor in April 2019, allowing it to publish official guides and records of the Summer Games.

It is the second time a top official of an Olympic sponsor has been arrested in connection with a bribery scandal, after Takahashi and Hironori Aoki, the founder of retailer Aoki Holdings, were arrested in August.

Takahashi, Aoki and two others were indicted in connection with a separate bribery allegation involving payments totaling approximately ¥51 million.

Last week, Tokyo prosecutors arrested Takahashi and arrested Fukami, as well as Kadokawa’s former chief executive Toshiyuki Yoshihara, 64, and Kadokawa employee Kyoji Maniwa, 63, on suspicion of bribery.

Takahashi and Fukami are suspected of getting Kadokawa to transfer funds to Fukami’s consulting firm after Yoshihara and Maniwa were allegedly asked to help the publisher be selected as a sponsor for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

Since the statute of limitations for prosecuting a person suspected of bribery is three years, the amount of the transfer funds involved was set at ¥69 million.

Former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, who headed the Tokyo Games organizing committee until he had to quit over sexist remarks, has been voluntarily questioned by prosecutors over a widening corruption scandal, sources close to the matter said last week.

Fukami’s consulting firm was also allegedly used to receive money from Osaka-based Daiko Advertising, whose offices were raided last week.

Takahashi and Fukami are believed to have pushed the organizing committee to use Daiko Advertising as an agent in selecting sponsors, and investigators suspect that Daiko paid more than ¥10 million in bribes to Takahashi.

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