Arrested at last! The Arrogant Footsteps of Haruyuki Takahashi, Former Olympic Board Member Suspected of Trustee Bribery | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Arrested at last! The Arrogant Footsteps of Haruyuki Takahashi, Former Olympic Board Member Suspected of Trustee Bribery

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Former Director Haruyuki Takahashi (center) attends a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Tokyo Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in February 2017. On the left is former Chairman Yoshiro Mori (Photo: Kyodo News)

≪The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office arrested Haruyuki Takahashi, a member of the board of directors of the Tokyo Organizing Committee for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, on suspicion of bribery. The suspect had allegedly signed a consulting contract with an affiliate of AOKI, a menswear company that sponsored last summer’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, and received approximately 45 million yen in total from 2017. Digital reproduces an article dated July 23 detailing the character of Mr. Takahashi in detail.

Former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori praised Takahashi, saying, “Thanks to Mr. Takahashi.

Finally, the investigative authorities made their move. The Yomiuri Shimbun reported on July 20 on its front page that “Ex-Olympic Organizing Committee Director Receives 4.5 Million Yen from Event Sponsors. Tokyo District Public Prosecutors’ Office investigates. This was the scoop that pushed figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu’s retirement from competition to second place.

The former director of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Organizing Committee is Haruyuki Takahashi, 78, a former senior managing director of Dentsu Inc. He is known as a “fixer in the sports world” who has been deeply involved in bidding for not only the Olympics but also the World Cup soccer tournament and the World Championships in track and field. The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, Japan’s most powerful investigative agency, is about to take a close look at him.

According to the Yomiuri, a source close to the matter said that Takahashi is suspected of having signed a consulting contract with AOKI Holdings, a men’s clothing company that was a sponsor of the tournament, and of receiving about 45 million yen from the company. AOKI Holdings, a menswear company that was a sponsor of the convention, and the company Takahashi represents. The board members are “deemed public officials” and are prohibited from accepting money or goods in connection with their duties. The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office is carefully investigating the matter.

Takahashi is said to have built up a strong personal network by going to great lengths to curry favor with the biggest names in sports, including Joao Abelanger, former president of the FIFA, and Primo Nebiolo, former president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (now the World Association of Athletics Federations, IAAF). Mr. Nebiolo has made a name for himself especially abroad, contributing greatly to the bid for the 1991 World Championships in Athletics in Tokyo and the 2002 World Cup soccer tournament, which was co-hosted by Japan and South Korea.

When we interviewed people involved with Dentsu over the past 10 years, they all said, “Give me a break,” and refused to say much. When we persisted, they would reply, “He is special and I don’t want to get involved with him,” or “He was a new employee, but he drove a foreign car to work with pride. I think it was a Jaguar.

While there was an appreciation that he was able to cross paths with the world’s top executives because of his heresy and different skills, other employees kept their distance from him. Perhaps it was fear, not awe.

Whenever a foreign sports figure came to Japan, he would invite them to the restaurant he owned and serve them food, followed by a lavish dinner at a high-class club in Ginza. I heard that he lived in a tower apartment with a hostess in her 20s.

At the end of March 2020, Reuters obtained a bank account transaction certificate for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Bid Committee. The Reuters news agency reported that 890 million yen had been transferred to Takahashi’s account.

In response, Takahashi told Lamin Diack, former president of the IAAF and a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and others as part of his lobbying activities, “It’s only natural that I should give them a souvenir. The contents were a Seiko watch and a Canon digital camera,” he replied.

He explained that he received the money from the bid committee through a consulting firm he runs, and that it was for food, beverage, and marketing expenses to ensure the success of the bid.

The 45 million yen that the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office is investigating this time is also said to have come through Takahashi’s consulting firm, and the flow of money overlaps.

He approached Senegalese IOC commissioner Diack because he asked him to organize the African vote for the Olympics bid. When Tokyo won the election, former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, who was appointed chairman of the Bid Committee Council and president of the Organizing Committee, welcomed Diak as a member of the Organizing Committee and gave him a warm welcome, saying, “Thanks to Mr. Takahashi.

Mr. Diak was accused and convicted by French judicial authorities of being involved in a cover-up of state doping in Russian athletics that was uncovered in 2014. He died in December 2009 at the age of 88, having never told the truth about the alleged Tokyo Olympics bid.

On September 7, 2013, the IOC General Assembly meeting was held in Argentina. Immediately after “Tokyo” was chosen as the host city of the Olympics, Takahashi (second from left) rejoiced behind Yoshiro Mori, who would later become the head of the Oriparatos. Prime Minister Kishida (far left), then Foreign Minister, was also present (Photo: Reuters/Afro)

Tsunekazu Takeda, 74, former president of the Japanese Olympic Committee and a member of the Imperial Family, who resigned after being accused of being responsible for the Olympic bid, was Takahashi’s junior at Keio University. Mr. Takahashi was a junior colleague of Mr. Tsunekazu Takeda, 74, the former president of the Japanese Olympic Committee, who was a member of the Imperial Family, and who took advantage of Mr. Takeda as he wished.

There is one more person who must not be forgotten. His own brother, Harunori Takahashi, is known as the “king of the bubble economy. He is known as the “king of the bubble economy,” flying around on private jets, buying resorts around the world, and rising to the top of a corporate group with total assets of more than 1 trillion yen.

≪The Bank of Japan can print only 10,000 yen bills, but I can print 100 million yen bills.

It is said that his elder brother Haruyuki’s personal connections were one of the supports that enabled him to break into the political and business worlds. However, the prosperity did not last. The bursting of the bubble economy led to the collapse of holding companies such as Lee I.I. International one after another. His main bank, Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan, was forced into financial difficulties, Tokyo Kyowa Credit Union went bankrupt, and in June 1995 he was arrested by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office on charges of breach of trust.

Although he consistently maintained his innocence at trial, he was sentenced to prison in both the first and second trials, and passed away in July 2005, before the Supreme Court made its decision. The cause of death is believed to have been a subarachnoid hemorrhage.

I will tell everything before I die.

The smell of huge sums of money is surrounding Mr. Takahashi.

The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics Special Measures Law stipulates that the officials and employees of the Organizing Committee are “deemed public servants. If money or goods are offered in response to their duties, and if it is judged to be a bribe, the criminal law’s crime of bribery may be established.

The IOC’s Code of Ethics also stipulates that Olympics officials must not ask for or receive compensation or commissions related to the Games.

Toshiki Tsuda, a sportswriter and part-time lecturer at Kokushikan University who has covered the Tokyo Olympics bid scandal, offers the following analysis.

Through the Tokyo Olympics, the IOC has proven that it is an organization that puts broadcasting rights fees and sponsors first. The IOC began its commercialism from the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, and Dentsu Inc. was the driving force behind this commercialism. The driving force behind the commercialism was Dentsu, and Mr. Takahashi was the “vanguard. Although Takahashi may have been idealistic in the beginning, he may have crossed the line and become corrupt with those who were interested in the sports business and knew how profitable it was.

 The media also bears a great deal of responsibility. Knowing what was going on inside, major newspapers were among the sponsors of the Tokyo Games. This put out the fire of pursuit and resulted in only superficial reporting. The Yomiuri’s scoop is also a re tive of the prosecutors. It is a shame that the only way to find out what is going on is through the hands of the public prosecutor. For that reason, we must keep a close eye on the future developments.

Takahashi, who says he has “never worked for any money in connection with the Olympics,” once dared to say, “I will tell the whole story before I die. If that is the case, I would like the investigative authorities to tell me the whole story.

Tsunekazu Takeda, former president of the Japanese Olympic Committee (second from right), a member of the former imperial family, resigned after being accused of being responsible for the Olympic bid (Photo: Reuters/Afro)
  • Photo by Shinji Hasuo

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