Toshiyuki Yoshihara, of Japanese publishing house Kadokawa, was found guilty of bribing a former Tokyo Olympics organizer on Tuesday.
Yoshihara was sentenced to a suspended two-year prison sentence – meaning he will avoid jail time so long as he does not break the law in the next four years – for paying 69 million yen ($463,000 USD) to Haruyuki Takahashi, who sat on the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee. Tokyo District Court Presiding Judge Yoshihisa Nakao said the jail time was suspended because Yoshihara expressed remorse, and his wife pledged to watch over him.
Yoshihara reportedly wanted the Kadokawa Group to become a sponsor for the Games, and attempted to mask the bribery as consulting fees.
Takahashi is the heart of an extensive bribery scandal related to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which has seen a total of fifteen officials from Kadokawa and other companies issued similar sentences to Yoshihara. A former advertising executive at Dentsu, Takahashi’s seat on the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee gave him extensive influence over sponsorships.
Takahashi was arrested multiple times in 2022 after evidence of the scandal first surfaced that August, and released on bail in December, as the Tokyo District Court deemed he was not a flight risk and would not destroy evidence. His trial has yet to begin.
Other companies with members facing trial for bribery include clothing company Aoki Holdings, Daiko Advertising Inc., toy merchandiser Sun Arrow and advertising company ADK. An official from consulting company Amuse was convicted for helping Takahashi mask the bribes in exchange for a cut of the money.
Based on the allegations, Takahashi received about 200 million yen ($1.3 million USD) in bribes.
The scandal has reportedly caused the northern Japanese city of Sapporo to drop its bid to host the 2030 Winter Olympics.