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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Chairman of FromSoftware’s parent company arrested in Olympic bribery case

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Tsuguhiko Kadokawa, chairman of the board of directors at Kadokawa Corporation, has been arrested in connection with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics bribery scandal that’s currently engulfing Japan, the Japan Times reports.

Kadokawa Corporation is probably most familiar to you and me as the owner of FromSoftware, maker of Dark Souls and Elden Ring, but the company has numerous and diverse holdings across the entire Japanese entertainment industry. Kadokawa executive Toshiyuki Yoshihara and manager Kyoji Maniwa have also been arrested in connection with the scandal.

Kadokawa, who has been chairman at the corporation since 2019, was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of offering somewhere around 69 million yen (approximately $481,000, or £417,000) in bribes to Haruyuki Takahashi, a former executive of the Tokyo Olympic organising committee. Takahashi was already arrested back in August—before being ‘rearrested’ last week—on suspicion of receiving about $380,000, or £315,000, in ‘thank you payments’  from Aoki, a high street suit retailer.

Prosecutors think Tsuguhiko Kadokawa made the payments to Takahashi for the advantage Kadokawa Corp enjoyed in its quest to become an official sponsor of the Tokyo Olympics. The company was granted official sponsor status in April 2019, becoming the official publisher of the Tokyo Games’ guidebooks and records.

The scandal cast a pall over the 2020 games—which were already the subject of major controversy—and negatively impacted the country’s bid to host the 2030 Winter Olympics in Sapporo. Beyond Kadokawa, the spiralling scandal has also ensnared leading figures in the Japanese business world and even ex-Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori.

Kadokawa Corp most recently graced our pages for a share deal with Tencent and Sony worth over 35 billion yen (around £225 million, or $260 million) that laid the groundwork for FromSoft to start publishing its own games. While it’s unlikely that the share deal—or the relationship between FromSoft and Kadokawa Corp—will be devastated by the bribery imbroglio, it’s certainly a rapid fall from the high note the company was on only two weeks ago.

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