Filmmaker’s drug bust rocks Japan

Move over Heidi: Japan has its own sleazy summer scandal. A prominent independent movie producer, Haruku Kadokawa, has been arrested for cocaine use. The story is causing such an uproar that one of Japan’s top-grossing films will be pulled from theaters, and Kadokawa will be ousted from the presidency of his own company.

Kadokawa, 51, was arrested early Sunday morning for violation of the Narcotics Control and Tariff law. He is accused of ordering a former employee to buy cocaine in the U.S. and smuggle it into Japan.

The titular head of Kadokawa Shoten Publishing Co., Kadokawa concentrates more on his film business while his brother looks after publishing affairs. Kadokawa has produced about 60 films and has recently directed several. One of Japan’s most popular releases this summer was a film he directed called “Rex — the Story of a Dinosaur.”

Distributor Shochiku had decided to extend the originally planned 10-week run by four weeks, since it was the company’s biggest source of B.O. revenue. Due to Kadokawa’s arrest and the scandal, however, Shochiku has reported that it will pull the film from all theaters on Sept. 10.

The publishing end of the business will also suffer, since the Ministry of Education has reported that it will probably not use textbooks from the firm this coming school year, as was originally planned.

And despite the fact that Kadokawa is president of the publishing company founded by his father in 1946, he is reportedly going to be fired by his own board. Company regulations state that only the president can call a board meeting with the authority to dismiss him; however, the company has apparently managed to make legal arrangements that will allow them to bypass this regulation. Police say that Kadokawa may even have used company funds to acquire the cocaine, hiding the costs in expense account reports inJapan and for trips to Los Angeles.

The Japan Times also reported in a front-page article Monday that “police believe the amount confiscated was too much for one person and suspect the (producer) may have supplied the drug to others in Japan’s movie industry.

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