Corruption scandal could jeopardize Sapporo’s 2030 Olympic bid


SAPPORO, Japan — Sapporo Japan’s bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics and Paralympics may be in jeopardy after a former Tokyo 2020 Games committee executive board member became embroiled in a corruption scandal.

A report from The Japan News, the English-language branch of Japanese media Yomiuri Shimbun, says the offer was “dipped in ice water”.

At the center of the corruption scandal is Haruyuki Takahashi, who was a member of the organizing committee for the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo and has since been arrested at least four times as of October 19 for allegedly taking large sums money to corporate sponsors. in exchange for special favors.

Companies involved in the cases include Aoki Holdings, Inc., the clothing company that sold suits with the Olympic emblem among other items; Kadokawa Corp., a major publishing house that produced official guides and other printed materials for the Games; Sun Arrow, which sold plush toys of Tokyo 2020 mascots Miraitowa and Someity; and major advertising companies Daiko Advertising Inc. and ADK Holdings Inc.

The total amount of bribes Takahashi allegedly received was approximately 196 million yen, which is approximately over US$14 million.

The scandal prompted Japanese Olympic Committee President Yasuhiro Yamashita and Sapporo Mayor Katsuhiro Akimoto to issue an emergency declaration on September 8.

“Although the arrest of the former board member is not directly related to the Sapporo bid, we must be fully aware that the image of the Olympic and Paralympic Games as a whole has been seriously damaged,” says the joint statement. “We will work to reform the operational aspects of the organization in charge of preparing for the Games and demonstrate transparency and fairness.”

The final vote on the host city for the 2030 Winter Games won’t take place until the fall of 2023, but the fallout from that scandal may have further improved Salt Lake City’s chances of securing the bid.

It comes after another potential city, Vancouver, Canada, chose not to bid for the 2030 Winter Games, citing substantial direct costs and liability risks.

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