Japanese prosecutors raid ad agencies in Tokyo Olympics probe

Local media say raids are related to alleged bid-rigging for Tokyo Olympics test events.

Tokyo prosecutors have raided several advertising agencies on suspicion of rigging bids for contracts related to Olympics test events [File: Kimimasa Mayama/EPA-EFE]

Tokyo prosecutors have raided the offices of advertising agencies Hakuhodo DY Holdings and Tokyu Agency in connection with possible bid-rigging related to Tokyo Olympics test events, Japanese broadcaster NTV has reported.

Prosecutors also raided two other firms, including TV production firm FCC, a subsidiary of Fuji Media Holdings, the Asahi daily reported on Monday.

Public broadcaster NHK and other local media reported that the companies are being investigated on suspicion of rigging bids for contracts related to Olympics test events.

The raids come after authorities on Friday raided advertising agency Dentsu Group as part of a widening investigation into alleged corruption in the run-up to the 2020 Games, which were postponed for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dentsu dominates event organising, marketing and public relations in Japan, and helped to land the 2020 Games for Tokyo. The group, valued at some $9bn, also has an extensive international business.

Haruyuki Takahashi, a former executive at Dentsu, has been arrested four times in recent months on charges of receiving bribes from various companies that became sponsors for the Games.

The companies involved in the earlier sponsorship scandal include Aoki Holdings, a clothing company that dressed Japan’s Olympic team, and Sun Arrow, which produced the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic mascots named Miraitowa and Someity.

Speculation has been growing that the burgeoning scandal may tarnish Japan’s bid for the 2030 Winter Games.

The International Olympic Committee has said it’s watching Japan’s investigation, stressing it had “every interest in the full clarification of this case”.

Source: News Agencies