Publishing executive charged in Tokyo Olympics bribes scandal

The charges against Tsuguhiko Kadokawa are the latest in the unfolding corruption scandal related to last year’s Games in Japan.

Tsuguhiko Kadokawa
Tsuguhiko Kadokawa

A top executive at a major Japanese publishing company has been charged with bribing a former Tokyo Olympics organising committee member.

The charges against Tsuguhiko Kadokawa, a major figure in Japan’s film and entertainment industry, are the latest in the unfolding corruption scandal related to last year’s Tokyo Summer Games.

Kadokawa was arrested on September 14 on suspicion of bribing Haruyuki Takahashi with 69 million yen (£424,428).

Takahashi, a former executive at advertising company Dentsu who joined the Tokyo Olympic organising committee in 2014, had great influence in arranging sponsorships for the Games. He has been arrested and re-arrested three times since August.

He has remained in custody and is also facing bribery allegations involving two other companies – Aoki Holdings, a clothing company that dressed Japan’s Olympic team, and Daiko Advertising Inc.

Tagging on additional allegations, which keeps a suspect in custody, is known as “hostage justice”, and is a widely criticised but common practice in Japan.

Analysts say the arrests and charges in the Olympics scandal may continue for months, as more than 50 companies were sponsors.

Kadokawa, the son of the publishing company’s founder, said in a statement carried on Japanese media that he would quit as chairman.

“I feel I must take responsibility. Kadokawa is facing a serious challenge, and a new leadership is needed so it can be overcome,” he said.

Several other officials at the companies accused of bribery have been arrested, including two other Kadokawa employees.

Tokyo-based Kadokawa Group, which also makes films and games, said it takes the charges seriously.

“We deeply and repeatedly apologise to our readers, users, writers and creators, shareholders and investors and all others who may have been affected,” the company said in a statement.

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

The official price tag for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics was 13 billion US dollars (£11.6 billion), mostly public money. The Games were postponed for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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