Three admit paying bribes for Tokyo Olympic Games sponsorship rights

TOKYO: A former chairman and two other senior managers of Japanese major business suit retailer Aoki Holdings Inc. have admitted in court to having bribed a former Tokyo Olympic organising committee executive to win sponsorship rights for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Hironori Aoki, 84, along with two others, has been charged with paying bribes totalling 28 million yen (about 210,000 U.S. dollars) on more than 30 occasions between September 2019 and March this year to a former Tokyo Olympic organising committee executive, Haruyuki Takahashi, who had influence over the committee’s marketing division charged with sponsorship selection.

The trial of Hironori Aoki, his brother and the firm’s former vice-chairman Takahisa Aoki, 76, and Katsuhisa Ueda, 41, an executive director, is the first to be held in a series of bribery cases related to the Games. The court on Thursday heard them admitting they paid bribes.

According to the indictment, between January 2017 and June 2021, the three officials repeatedly asked favours of Takahashi for six matters, including the selection of their firm as an Olympics sponsor.

Aoki Holdings supplied uniforms to the Japanese team’s athletes after becoming an official supporter of the Games in 2018. It also sold jackets with the Games’ emblem.

Takahashi is suspected of being involved in other bribery cases and has been indicted four times on charges of receiving nearly 200 million yen (about 1.5 million dollars) in bribes from five firms.