The first trial of anime studio ufotable founder and former president Hikaru Kondo, indicted for violating the Corporation Tax Act and the Consumption Tax Act started on 17th September.
Kondo accepted the offer of an opening statement against his case, where he admitted to the charges laid out and apologized to fans and other stakeholders.
The studio allegedly hid about 441 million yen (about US$4 million) in income from the company’s cafes and merchandise from 2015 to 2018 in order to buffer against future downturns in business, said the prosecution in its opening statement.
After the formal indictment of Kondo and ufotable on July 9, in a statement on the ufotable website, the studio reiterated that an amended tax return has already been completed and the tax owed has already been paid back.
Previous reports have varied slightly in the amount that ufotable owes: the formal indictment in July stated 137 million yen (about US$1.24 million) in taxes, while previous reports by The Mainichi Shimbun newspaper in 2020 alleged 139 million yen (about US$1.28 million) in taxes.
Both of these accounts differ from the 138 million yen (about US$1.25 million) reported in the latest preliminary hearing.
After, Kondo’s opening statement had the former president admitted to the charges, saying he “committed tax evasion thinking that it would not cause any trouble to the company. And for that, I apologize.” Kondo bowed deeply as he apologized.