Media Ad Spend Japan

Hakuhodo allegedly confesses to role in Tokyo Olympic bid-rigging scandal


By Danielle Long | Acting APAC Editor

December 12, 2022 | 4 min read

Japan’s second-largest advertising agency Hakuhodo has reportedly admitted to participating in bid-rigging for Tokyo Olympics contracts, according to media reports.

Tokyo Olympics

The scandal surrounding bid-rigging collusion around the Tokyo Olympics continues in Japan / Image by Vik M from Pixabay

Hakuhodo is currently under investigation by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office and the Japan Fair Trade Commission, along with several other agencies, for its involvement in an alleged bid-rigging scandal, conducted by the Tokyo Games Organising Committee.

The Japan Times published claims that a Hakuhodo official told the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office that the agency won its bids unopposed after the company told Dentsu Inc. which contracts it wanted to secure.

According to the report, A Hakuhodo official reported the two contracts it wanted to win to Dentsu and was subsequently the sole bidder for the contracts, worth a total of ¥40m.

Authorities are now understood to be questioning executives from the other agencies that are believed to be involved. There are currently nine agencies under investigation for suspected collusion over 26 contracts worth more than ¥500m.

Japan’s third-largest advertising agency ADK is understood to have voluntarily confessed to authorities last week. Dentsu is believed to have denied knowledge of any collusion.

The investigation began when Tokyo Organising Committee member and former senior managing director at Dentsu Inc, Haruyuki Takahashi, was arrested on bribery charges relating to the Olympic Games & Paralympic Games.

The Drum has contacted Hakuhodo for a response; however, they were unavailable for comment.

In a previous statement to The Drum, Hakuhodo explained it could not comment on the ongoing investigation and delivered an apology to “all parties involved”.

"We offer our most sincere apologies to all parties involved in this issue and will be fully cooperating with the authorities," said a Hakuhodo spokesperson.

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