yuji naka prison

Yuji Naka Given 4 Year Suspended Prison Sentence

The Tokyo District Court served Yuji Naka (co-creator of the Sonic the Hedgehog series and former director of Balan Wonderworld) a two-and-a-half year prison sentence, as well as a four year suspended one. Basically, he is on probation and risks going to jail for two-and-a-half years if he breaks the rules that the court imposed upon him. He has also received a fine of 2.5 million JPY, with a surcharge of 170 million JPY. [Thanks, Game Watch!]

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The Yuji Naka case started in November 2022 when the authorities arrested in for inside trading. He was arrested again in a second scandal involving insider trading a month later in December 2022. Insider trading is using non-public information to give yourself an edge when trading in a public company’s stock.

For reference, during his first scandal, Yuji Naka bought approximately 10,000 shares (2.8 million JPY) of Aiming stock. This is because he knew about the development of Dragon Quest Tact. His second one involved 120,000 shares of Ateam stocks (about 144.7 million JPY) prior to the release of Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier.

During the trial, his defense argued that Naka did not actively go out of his way to seek out this information. Instead, someone sent it to him by accident. It’s clear that this argument did not convince the court.

The Tokyo District Court has sentenced Yuji Naka to 2 years and 6 months of prison, a suspended sentence of 4 years, and a total fine of around 172.5 million JPY.

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Stephanie Liu
Stephanie is a senior writer who has been writing for games journalism and translating since 2020. After graduating with a BA in English and a Certificate in Creative Writing, she spent a few years teaching English and history before fulfilling her childhood dream of becoming a writer. In terms of games, she loves RPGs, action-adventure, and visual novels. Aside from writing for Siliconera and Crunchyroll, she translates light novels, manga, and video games.