Japan: Ad Agencies Raided in Tokyo Olympic Bid-Rigging Probe

Photo: EPA-EFE [via Al Jazeera]

The Facts

  • On Monday, Japanese prosecutors and the Japan Fair Trade Commission (FTC) conducted a raid, including on the headquarters of major ad agency Hakuhodo, on suspicion of bid-rigging for contracts related to test events [competitions held prior to the Olympic Games] for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

  • Three other companies — Tokyu Agency Inc., Same Two Inc., and Fuji Creative Corp. — were also searched as investigators have so far raided six out of nine companies that were awarded the procurements.

The Spin

Establishment-critical narrative

Investigations have revealed a colossal structure to serve private interests — despite the Tokyo Games and its organizing committee personnel being considered a public event staffed by public servants. Yet, organizations including the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the organizing committee have failed to prevent bribery and probe the case, undermining the reputation of this event among the Japanese public.

Pro-establishment narrative

In response to this scandal, Japanese sports-related organizations are rightly taking decisive steps to improve the transparency of those operating large-scale international sporting events in Japan and to restore public confidence. This also includes reviewing the selection criteria and authority of the board members of the organizing committee, as well as the ambiguity of the sponsorship contract process.

Establishment split



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