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Dentsu Media Planning and Buying Japan

Dentsu Japan claims ‘extremely limited’ impact from bans on government tenders


By Danielle Long, Acting APAC Editor

March 31, 2023 | 4 min read

Dentsu claims the agency’s exclusion from bidding on government work will have an ‘extremely limited‘ impact on its business, which continues to work on existing accounts, including Olympic-related work.

Dentsu Japan headquarters

Dentsu boss Norihiro Kuretani commented on the fallout of the Tokyo Olympics bid-rigging scandal

Dentsu Inc president Norihiro Kuretani confirmed the advertising group would continue to work on Olympics-related business, despite the indictment over alleged bid-rigging activity for the Tokyo Games.

The admission was made at the agency’s general shareholders meeting in Tokyo, where Kuretani assured shareholders the agency would only proceed ”after taking thorough recurrence prevention measures and gaining the trust of sponsors”, according to reports.

Kuretani assured shareholders the "temporary" suspensions from central and local government organisations would have an “extremely limited” impact on the business.

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The assurance follows claims reported this week in The Drum that Japan’s advertising market is witnessing a flurry of activity as tenders for government work go out to agencies. One agency told The Drum they were receiving at least one RFP per day.

The activity follows the fallout from the Tokyo Olympic bid-rigging scandal, which saw Japan’s two largest advertising agencies, Dentsu and Hakuhodo, along with several other firms, indicted on criminal charges for the alleged violation of the Antimonopoly Act.

The charges, along with a number of arrests of agency staff from Dentsu, Hakuhodo, Tokyu Agency, Fuji Creative Corporation, Cerespo and Same Two, also resulted in widespread suspensions, barring the agencies from bidding on government business for at least 12 months.

The comments suggest the agency does not expect to experience long-lasting impacts from its alleged role in the Olympic bid-rigging scandal despite its indictment.

It comes as the organizers behind Osaka's Expo 2025, have raised concerns that marketing and PR activity for the event, which expects to attract 150 countries, will be impacted by the bans.

Osaka governor Hirofumi Yoshimura said the bans, which exclude Japan's two largest advertising agencies Dentsu and Hakuhodo, from participating in expo preparations for one year would be felt by organisers.

“There aren’t that many large Japanese advertising firms (like Dentsu and Hakuhodo), so excluding them from expo contracts means there will be an effect on preparations,” Yoshimura told media.

The Drum has contacted Dentsu for a response.

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