The Climbers High Masato Harada

TOKYO — Tokyo police have arrested Masaaki Wakasugi, a veteran producer with ties to some of the Japanese industry’s biggest names, on charges of fraud.

According to local news reports, Wakasugi is charged with raising nearly $300,000 from an unnamed company employee in November 2008 for a supposed film project, but the used the money instead to pay off debts. Wakasugi has reportedly claimed that fraud was not his intent.

Among the 49-year-old veteran’s many credits are “The Climber’s High,” (pictured) a 2008 Masato Harada drama of corporate intrigue that played widely on the festival circuit while winning domestic prizes, and “Maiko Haaaan!!!,” a 2007 comedy directed by Nobuo Mizuta and penned by prolific hitmaker Kankuro Kudo. He was also executive producer on “Blood and Bones,” Yoichi Sai’s 2004 highly acclaimed drama about a violent Korean immigrant to Japan that starred Takeshi Kitano as the lead.

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