Japanese company implicated in Tokyo 2020 bribery scandal vows to change

A Japanese company implicated in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics corruption scandal said Thursday it would step up oversight to prevent further wrongdoing.

Tsuguhiko Kadokawa “seriously betrayed public trust,” said company president Takeshi Natsuno. He bowed deeply with two other executives to show remorse in a press conference.

Kadokawa, the founder’s son, was arrested in September on suspicion of bribing Haruyuki Takahashi, a member of the Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee, with 69 million yen ($715,600).

The Kadokawa Group was selected as the Olympic sponsor and published the Games program and travel guides.

Takahashi is a former executive of the Japanese advertising company Dentsu, which played a key role in landing the 2013 Tokyo Olympics and then became the Tokyo Games’ marketing arm.

Takahashi was arrested and released from prison after being held for about four months. Japanese media say he denies the corruption allegations.

He also faces bribery allegations related to several companies linked to the Tokyo Olympics: Aoki Holdings, a clothing company that dressed the Japanese Olympic team; Daiko Advertising Inc., ADK Marketing Solutions and Sun Arrow, which produced the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games mascots named Miraitowa and Someity.

Any legal proceedings are likely to proceed slowly, as the Japanese legal process is usually lengthy and involves more than a dozen people.

Prosecutors say Takahashi acted in a way to favor the companies with sponsorships and other Olympics-related benefits in return for the bribes.

Prosecutors say that alongside the bribery scandal, a separate investigation is underway into bid-fixing and the choice of venues for Olympic testing events.

Application for 2030 “on hold”

The escalating allegations of corruption surrounding Tokyo have meant that the northern Japanese city of Sapporo’s bid for the 2030 Winter Games has been “put on hold”.

Sapporo was considered a favorite for 2030, partly because of Japan’s reliability and heavy spending staging the delayed Tokyo games.

The Switzerland-based International Olympic Committee reportedly has Salt Lake City as its sole candidate to host the 2030 Games.

Salt Lake organizers have said they would prefer 2034 rather than directly following Los Angeles, where the 2028 Summer Olympics will be held.

The official price for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games was $13 billion, although a government audit found the actual cost could be twice that. About 60 percent of spending on the Tokyo Olympics was public money.

The games were postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will be held in 2021.

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