Tokyo Olympics bribery arrests widens to third Japan sponsor

Sep 26, 2022, 1:30 PM | Updated: Sep 27, 2022, 1:44 am
FILE - Haruyuki Takahashi, executive board member of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic ...

FILE - Haruyuki Takahashi, executive board member of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games attends the Tokyo 2020 Executive Board Meeting in Tokyo on March 30, 2020. Criminal allegations against a former Tokyo Olympic organizing committee board member widened Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022, as Japanese prosecutors “re-arrested” Takahashi in suspected payments from a publisher that became a sponsor for the Games. (Issei Kato/Pool Photo via AP, File)

(Issei Kato/Pool Photo via AP, File)

TOKYO (AP) — Bribery allegations against a former Tokyo Olympics organizing committee member ensnared a third company that sponsored the Games, as Japanese prosecutors “re-arrested” Haruyuki Takahashi for the third time Tuesday.

The latest allegations of dubious payments center on 15 million yen ($104,000) Takahashi and another official received from Daiko Advertising Inc., based in Osaka, central Japan, Tokyo District Prosecutors said in a statement.

The arrests, coming on the same day as the state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which is drawing foreign dignitaries including IOC President Thomas Bach and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, underline the determination of the prosecutors to get to the bottom of the Olympic scandal.

Japanese culture usually favors “saving face,” and embarrassment on the international stage tends to be avoided. The arrests are also likely a setback for Japan’s ambitions in bidding for the 2030 Winter Olympics for Sapporo.

A Daiko official was also arrested. Daiko apologized for the arrests, “for the trouble to customers and stakeholders,” and promised to cooperate with the investigation.

Daiko is the third company in the widening Olympic scandal, after Aoki Holdings, a clothing company that dressed the Japanese Olympic team, and major publisher Kadokawa.

With more than 50 companies that sponsored the Tokyo Olympics, speculation is rife about a string of arrests that could continue for months.

Takahashi, 78, a former executive at advertising company Dentsu, has been detained since his initial arrest on Aug. 17 on bribery suspicions from Aoki totaling 51 million yen ($350,000).

Aoki, which makes cheap suits, was a surprise pick to create the team outfits. Three Aoki officials were also arrested.

Last month, prosecutors re-arrested Takahashi, tagging on additional bribery allegations, this time from Kadokawa, which also makes movies and games, totaling 76 million yen ($530,000).

The sponsorship allowed Kadokawa to publish programs and other books related to the Tokyo Olympics. Also arrested were two Kadokawa officials.

Eight days later, prosecutors arrested Tsuguhiko Kadokawa, the company chairman, on allegations of bribing Takahashi with 69 million yen ($480,000). Kadokawa asserted his innocence.

Takahashi has already been formally charged with bribery in the Aoki payments. On Tuesday, he was formally charged in the Kadokawa payments.

Kazumasa Fukami, the head of a consulting firm who was arrested with Takahashi in the Kadokawa case, was re-arrested in the Daiko case.

Prosecutors say Takahashi acted in ways to favor the companies in business benefits related to the Olympics in return for the bribes.

Dragging out a suspect’s time in detention, by adding more charges, which is common in Japan, has been widely criticized by human rights activists as “hostage justice.” Analysts say Takahashi, if freed on bail, may destroy evidence.

Takahashi had enormous clout in arranging Olympic sponsorships, although he left the Dentsu board in 2009. He has not been available for comment.

Tokyo hosted the Olympics and Paralympics in the summer of 2021, after a one-year postponement because of the pandemic. The official price tag was $13 billion, mostly public money. Critics say the burden on taxpayers may have been greater.

___

Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

___

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Al Gharafa Park is viewed in Doha, Qatar, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. Qatar unveiled a plan last Octob...
Associated Press

Energy-rich Qatar faces fast-rising climate risks at home

AL RAYYAN, Qatar (AP) — At a suburban park near Doha, the capital city of Qatar, cool air from vents in the ground blasted joggers on a November day that reached almost 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit). The small park with air-conditioned paths is an apt illustration of World Cup host Qatar’s answers, so […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Fire sends smoke over Doha skyline during World Cup in Qatar

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Qatari authorities say a fire broke out Saturday at an under-construction building in a newly built city where a World Cup match was set to be played later in the evening, but caused no injuries. Qatar’s Interior Ministry said the fire started just after noon local time on an island that’s […]
1 day ago
Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne in action during the World Cup group F soccer match between Belgium and C...
Associated Press

De Bruyne, Belgium need 2nd chance to impress at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne knew he didn’t play well in his team’s opening World Cup game. He said as much when he accepted the man of the match award. “I don’t know why I got the trophy,” De Bruyne said. “Maybe it’s because of my name.” With De Bruyne looking […]
1 day ago
Players warm up during Japan official training on the eve of the group E of World Cup soccer match ...
Associated Press

Japan aims for World Cup knockout stage against Costa Rica

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — How big was Japan’s 2-1 upset of Germany in the opening round of the World Cup? Newspapers in Japan used the term “Daikimboshi” from sumo wrestling to describe the magnitude of the surprise: when a low-ranked wrestler overpowers a grand champion. The victory has also been compared to Japan’s 34-32 upset […]
1 day ago
German players gather during a training session at the Al-Shamal stadium on the eve of the group E ...
Associated Press

Germany’s World Cup survival on the line against Spain

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — When the World Cup draw came out in April, one of the highlights of the group stage was Sunday’s Spain vs. Germany match at Al Bayt Stadium. Eight months later, the game between the two former world champions and pre-tournament favorites gained even more prominence thanks to Germany’s surprising loss to […]
1 day ago
Canada's head coach John Herdman talks with his team after their loss in the World Cup group F socc...
Associated Press

Herdman’s inspiration try at World Cup, provokes Croatia

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Canada had just lost its first World Cup match in 36 years, outplaying Belgium for much of a 1-0 defeat, and an emotional John Herdman revealed in the on-field interview what he had just told his players during a postgame huddle. “I told them they belong here. And we’re going to […]
1 day ago
Tokyo Olympics bribery arrests widens to third Japan sponsor