— Published 2 February 2023

Thirty months’ imprisonment sought against former partner

The Tokyo 2020 corruption case continues unabated in Japan. Its latest episode is taking a very judicial turn. On Wednesday 1 February, prosecutors requested a 30-month prison sentence for the former president of a suit brand that is a partner of the organising committee. He is suspected, along with two accomplices, of having paid bribes to a former member of the Tokyo 2020 board. Hironori Aoki (pictured above), 84, former chairman of Aoki Holdings Inc, is accused of paying a total of 28 million yen ($215,000) to Haruyuki Takahashi, former head of the Dentsu Group, in exchange for securing a partnership contract for the Games. According to prosecutors, the Japanese executive “used the Tokyo Olympics for his own benefit and trampled on the value of the event in the public eye.” Portrayed by the prosecution as a “greedy and persistent” character, Hironori Aoki allegedly used multiple initiatives and opportunities to leverage Haruyuki Takahashi’s influence on the Tokyo 2020 board to secure a partnership deal. Prosecutors also requested prison sentences for the other two defendants, also former executives of the Aoki company: 18 months for Takahisa Aoki, 77, the former vice-president, and Katsuhisa Ueda, 41, the former executive director. The defence asked for suspended sentences, arguing that the defendants did not make any real personal profit from the case. The three men had admitted the facts at a first hearing last December. The judgment will be handed down on 21 April.