Kadokawa chairman arrested over Tokyo Olympics bribery scandal


The chairman of the major Japanese publisher Kadokawa Corp. was arrested on Wednesday for his alleged involvement in a growing sponsorship bribery scandal surrounding the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

Tsuguhiko Kadokawa is suspected by Tokyo prosecutors of giving 69 million yen ($481,000) in bribes to a consultancy led by an acquaintance of Haruyuki Takahashi, a former director of the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee, in exchange for helping the publisher to be selected as a sponsor of last year’s Summer Games.

The 79-year-old chairman is suspected of colluding with Toshiyuki Yoshihara, 64, a former director of Kadokawa, and the publisher’s 63-year-old current employee, Kyoji Maniwa.

Kadokawa Corp. Chairman Tsuguhiko Kadokawa will speak with reporters in Tokyo on September 5, 2022, amid speculation that the Japanese publishing house has made payments to Haruyuki Takahashi, a former director of the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee, in exchange for preferential treatment in selection. from Olympic sponsors. (TBEN) ==TBEN

The chairman has denied the allegations, according to a source familiar with the situation, while his company said in a statement that it was fully cooperating with authorities in the investigation.

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The publisher also apologized for “the trouble and concern caused by all involved”.

Kadokawa is the second company executive arrested in the unfolding scandal, after Hironori Aoki, former chairman of business packages Aoki Holdings Inc., who has also been accused of bribes in selecting sponsors for the games.

Kadokawa, Yoshihara and Maniwa are said to have collaborated to deposit money through nine transactions between September 2019 and January 2021 from a bank account in the name of the publisher to the consultancy led by Kazumasa Fukami, 73.

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Fukami and Takahashi, 78, were both former executives of advertising giant Dentsu Inc.

Kadokawa was named “Official Supporter” of the Tokyo Games in the category of sponsorship of book and magazine publishers in April 2019.

The Tokyo prosecutors’ special investigative team believes the true sum of the transactions is estimated to be around 76 million yen deposited over a series of 10 transactions as of July 2019.

But the amount dictated in the bribery case was set at 69 million yen due to the three-year statute of limitations on bribes.

Kadokawa told the press last week that he was “definitely not” aware of bribery, adding that he had heard the transactions were for general sports-related advisory fees and that he believed they were not a problem.

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The special investigation team issued a new arrest warrant on Sept. 6 against Takahashi, who had a huge influence on Japan’s sports world. It also arrested Fukami, Yoshihara and Maniwa, in addition to searching Kadokawa’s home and his company’s headquarters in Tokyo.

The publishing house was founded in 1945 by Kadokawa’s father, Genyoshi. Since then, the company has diversified from an independent publishing house to an entertainment conglomerate, expanding into the film and online sectors.

In addition to the Aoki and Kadokawa cases, prosecutors are investigating Osaka-based Daiko Advertising Inc., which is also suspected of paying a large sum of money to Fukami’s consulting firm.

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