Bungeishunju's Weekly Bunshun Digital magazine reported last Friday that animation studio ufotable allegedly owes 400 million yen (about US$3.57 million) in taxes, citing a source from the Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau. The report also 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.
Weekly Bunshun Digital also cited a source from inside ufotable that company founder, representative director, and president Hikaru Kondo stayed at home and consulted with his lawyer every day for a few days after the original report of the investigation, but has supposedly returned to work at the company's Suginami studio as of two weeks ago.
Weekly Bunshun Digital reported three weeks ago that the Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau conducted a search of ufotable's offices on March 12 as part of an investigation of the company allegedly committing tax evasion. The Bureau conducted searches in the company's cafes in Kōenji and Tokushima, as well as the animation studio in Shimoigusa, in Tokyo's Suginami ward. According to the report, Kondo was allegedly directly receiving some of the revenue accrued from the studio's merchandise sales.
No charges have been filed against Kondo or ufotable.
Kondo founded ufotable in 2000, and the studio is perhaps best known for its various anime adaptations of Type-Moon's Fate franchise, including Fate/Zero and Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works. The studio is currently producing the Fate/stay night: Heaven's Feel anime film trilogy, the second film of which debuted on January 12 in Japan. The studio has also made anime adaptations of Type-Moon's The Garden of Sinners, and the Katsugeki: Touken Ranbu television anime. ufotable premiered the Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba television anime on April 6.
The company also sells merchandise and goods for the various anime it has produced, and runs a number of cafes through which it sells some of its merchandise. The company also organizes the Machi Asobi anime event in Tokushima. The events have had over 1 million attendees since they began in 2009.