Photo/Illutration Investigators arrive at the headquarters of Hakuhodo DY Holdings Inc. in Tokyo’s Minato Ward on Nov. 28. (Hiraku Higa)

Investigators on Nov. 28 searched the offices of four more companies in Tokyo including major advertising company Hakuhodo DY Holdings Inc. in connection with the suspected bid rigging of Olympic test events. 

Hakuhodo, based in the capital's Minato Ward, is the second largest advertising company in Japan, following Dentsu Inc., which was searched by investigators on Nov. 25.

The other three companies raided were Tokyu Agency Inc. in Minato Ward; Same Two Inc. in Chiyoda Ward; and Fuji Creative Corp. (FCC) in Koto Ward.

So far, six out of nine companies that were awarded contracts related to the Olympic test events have been raided under the joint investigation by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office and the Japan Fair Trade Commission.

Investigators are looking into whether these companies violated the Anti-Monopoly Law by conspiring to decide in advance which companies would win bids for planning the test events for the Tokyo Olympics.

These events are held in advance of the Games to evaluate the competition conditions and venue security, and the contract was awarded by the Olympic organizing committee.

The Tokyo 2020 organizing committee solicited bids for work related to 26 test events, mainly event planning, between May and August 2018. Nine companies, including Dentsu, as well as a joint venture company, ultimately won the bidding.

The six companies searched by the prosecutors were the ones that made successful bids.

The 26 contracts totaled around 540 million yen ($3.9 million), with the individual events costing anywhere from around 4 million yen to 60 million yen.

Sources said the Olympic organizing committee’s games operation bureau was in charge of awarding the contracts.

Three people--an assistant manager who was in charge of the task at the bureau, an employee who was dispatched to the committee from Dentsu and an employee at Dentsu who was involved in the task--took initiatives in making adjustments to "who wins what" in keeping with the wishes of each company, the sources said.

Investigators believe that the contractor and contractees worked as one to form a ring.

Hakuhodo has operated a wide variety of sports and culture-related events, in addition to media businesses. It won bids for two events, cycling and hockey events, worth a total of about 40 million yen.

Tokyu Agency is a group company of Tokyu Corp. and has mainly created advertisements for TV and radio programs. The company won bidding for three events, including weightlifting and tennis, worth a total of about 65 million yen.

Same Two has mainly operated international sports competitions. It won bids for two events, swimming and triathlon, worth a total of about 65 million yen.

FCC has created TV programs and events. The company won bidding for two events, judo and karate as well as beach volleyball, worth a total of about 40 million yen.

FCC and Cerespo Co., a Tokyo-based sports event promotion company that was searched by investigators on Nov. 25, set up a joint venture company. The joint firm won bidding for an event worth a total of about 13 million yen.

For most of the 26 competitive bids, only one company submitted a bid.