The Tokyo 2020 Olympic bid committee did nothing wrong in making payments to the Black Tidings consulting company during its campaign, the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) has concluded after an investigation into allegations of illegal activities.
The Guardian newspaper in the UK revealed in May that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic bid committee had made a payment of GB£1m to Black Tidings – a company headed by Singaporean consultant Ian Tan Tong Han.
Tan has since the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games been a close associate of Papa Massata Diack, the son of Lamine Diack – who himself resigned from the IOC amid claims that he accepted bribes to cover up positive drugs tests when he was president of the International Association of Athletics Federation.
The payment to Black Tidings, reportedly signed off by JOC President Tsunekazu Takeda, was the subject of an investigation by French police into whether the money was connected to votes in the host city election.
But the report by the JOC, released on Thursday, said there was no evidence that the relationship between the Tokyo 2020 bid committee and Tan was “illegal or invalid under the civil laws or criminal laws of Japan, and there is no doubt that it is lawful”.
The JOC also said the payment did not break French laws or violate any IOC ethical guidelines.
“I believe that Tokyo has been cleared of any suspicion of bribery”, said Yoshihisa Hayakawa, a lawyer who led the three-member panel told the Guardian.
The news comes shortly after the recently elected Yuriko Koike governor of Tokyo hit out against the spiralling cost of hosting the 2020 Olympic Games, saying that the plan needs to become sustainable and credible again.
In a video interview with the Wall Street Journal, Koike said: “The budget for Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic games is currently increasing.
“I think we need to go back to our original plan of sustainability and credibility, and make a plan once again. This is what I have come to believe.”
Since Tokyo won the bid to host the Games, Zaha Hadid’s initial designs for the main stadium have been rejected due to cost concerns. The Games logo also had to be redesigned due to allegations of plagiarism.
And the former Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe resigned in June 2016 over a scandal relating to public funds for personal use.
The new Governor Koike, appointed at the end of July, has highlighted sustainability as an area of focus for the Games. “Spending money does not necessarily lead to improved result,” she said. “The keyword is the three Rs: reduce reuse and recycle.”