The special investigation department of the Tokyo Public Prosecutor’s Office issued a formal indictment on Friday to anime studio ufotable and ufotable‘s founder, representative director, and president Hikaru Kondo on the charge of violating the Corporation Tax Act and Consumption Tax Act. They allegedly failed to pay 137 million yen (about US$1.24 million) in taxes.
In a statement on its website on Friday, ufotable acknowledged the indictment, and gave assurances that the company had already filed a corrected tax return and paid the appropriate amount.
The Kyodo news service reported that the written indictment specified that ufotable allegedly owes 109 million yen (about US$990,000) in corporate tax from 2015 to 2018, and 28 million yen (about US$254,400) in consumption tax from September 2014 to August 2018.
Previous reports by The Mainichi Shimbun newspaper last year claimed that Kondo purportedly hid about 30% of the proceeds from some of ufotable‘s anime-themed restaurants in Tokyo and stored them in a private safe at home. Those reports said that ufotable allegedly owed 139 million yen (about US$1.28 million) in taxes at the time while the investigation was developing.
Bungeishunju‘s Weekly Bunshun Digital magazine reported in April 2019 that ufotable allegedly owes 400 million yen (about US$3.57 million) in taxes, citing a source from the Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau. The report noted that ufotable is suspected of supposedly misappropriating funds raised from a charity auction for the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake, a violation of the Penal Code that carries a potential prison sentence of no more than 10 years. The Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau conducted a search of ufotable‘s offices earlier in March that year as part of an investigation, but did not end up filing charges.
Kondo eventually resigned from his role of chairman of the executive committee for Machi Asobi, the Tokushima event for which ufotable was once the main organizer, in May 2019.
Kondo founded ufotable in 2000, and the studio is perhaps best known for its recent Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba television anime and its accompanying hit film Demon Slayer – Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train, as well as the various anime adaptations of Type-Moon‘s Fate franchise, including Fate/Zero and Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works. The studio recently concluded the third and final film in the Fate/stay night: Heaven’s Feel anime film trilogy last August. The studio has also made anime adaptations of Type-Moon‘s The Garden of Sinners, and the Katsugeki: Touken Ranbu television anime.
In addition, the company sells merchandise and goods for the various anime it has produced, and runs a number of cafés through which it sells some of its merchandise.