Hakuhodo and dentsu offices have been raided by prosecutors and a fair trade watchdog, said a report on Japan Times. The raid came on suspicion of contracts for the Tokyo Olympics event being rigged. Hakuhodo’s raid occurred on Monday while dentsu’s was on Friday.
According to Japan Times, the new searches also covered ad firm Tokyu Agency and two event production companies Same Two Inc and Fuji Creative Corp. The raids were conducted expanding from a scandal involving Haruyuki Takahashi, a former Games organising committee executive. Takahashi allegedly received US$1.4 million in bribes from five companies.
The raids also came after ADK Holdings, which is the third largest in Japan, also admitted to participating in bid rigging for organising rights to test events for the Tokyo Olympics, according to multiple media reports. The agency reportedly came forward after investigations were launched, and according to the publication, it is hoping for leniency as it is cooperating with the Japan Fair Trade Commission.
Japan Times also said ADK reportedly closed three deals out of the 26 to organise test events for the Tokyo Games. The value of the three contracts amounted to slightly over US$730,755. The contracts for the events, carried out between 2018 and 2021.
The Tokyo Olympics itself had a tumultuous journey, from getting postponed last year and racking up a bill of US$3 billion to citizens urging the Japanese government to cancel the Olympics. A day before the opening ceremony, the Tokyo Olympics made headlines after it fired the director of the opening ceremony over a Holocaust joke he reportedly made during a 1998 comedy show.
Kentaro Kobayashi was reportedly accused of joking about the Holocaust during his 1998 comedy act, including the phrase "Let's play Holocaust", AP added, resulting in criticism on social media. According to organising committee president, Seiko Hashimoto, the team apologised "causing troubles and concerns" to several involved parties, the people in Tokyo as well as the rest of Japan.