Report: Tokyo Olympic board member under investigation

TOKYO (AP) — Prosecutors searched the home of former Tokyo Olympic organizing committee executive board member Haruyuki Takahashi on Tuesday in connection with payments made to him by an Olympic sponsor of the Tokyo Games, the Japanese news agency Kyodo reported.

Kyodo said Takahashi is thought to have received around 45 million yen ($330,000) from clothing retailer Aoki Holdings Inc. Kyodo said Aoki’s Olympic sponsorship was announced about a year after the reported payments.

Takahashi was a member of the Tokyo Olympic executive board, and Kyodo said that as a quasi-civil servant, accepting money or gifts could be constitute bribery.

The Tokyo Olympic organizing committee was dissolved on June 30. The Tokyo Olympics, delayed for a year, opened on July 23, 2021. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government held a ceremony at the $1.4 billion National Stadium to mark the anniversary.

Aoki is reported to have supplied uniforms for the Olympics and sold licensed products carrying the Olympic logo.

Takahashi was closely tied to the Tokyo Games.

He is reported to have received millions of dollars from the Tokyo bid committee for his work lobbying International Olympic Committee members when Tokyo was chosen in 2013 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, ahead of Madrid and Istanbul.

He has said there was nothing improper about the payments and has denied any wrongdoing.

Takahashi is a former employee of the giant Japanese advertising agency Dentsu, Inc., which is credited with helping Tokyo land the Olympics. Dentsu was the exclusive marketing agency for the Tokyo Olympics and was pivotal in lining up a record of more than $3 billion in domestic sponsorship deals.

The Tokyo Games, which officially cost $13 billion, were littered with problems before the pandemic hit.

Tsunekazu Takeda, the former president of the Japanese Olympic Committee, resigned in 2019 after being tied to an investigation into bribes reportedly paid to IOC members in the 2013 vote.

Yoshiro Mori, the president of the Tokyo organizing committee, was forced to resign five months before the Olympics opened after making demeaning remarks about women.


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