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Tuesday, November 13, 2007 7:21 am

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Detail of "My Neighbor Totoro" figurine.

‘Spirited Away’ figurine maker arrested for tax fraud

Kyoko Okubo, founder and president of Tokyo-based figurine maker Cominica Inc. and a formal legal advisor to the company were arrested by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Special Investigation Department for suspected tax evasion on Monday, the Mainichi Shimbun reports.

According to the prosecutor’s investigation, the two suspects wrote up the prices of the company’s expenses, hiding some 198 million yen of income from the authorities since 2005.

The former legal advisor, Okubo’s common-law husband, stands suspected of having transferred the unregistered income to his own bank account, among other charges.

Cominica, founded by Okubo in 1985, pioneered the Japanese figurine industry with their highly detailed figurines and miniature characters, often based on anime or manga characters. Cominica is also the sole official manufacturer of Studio Ghibli merchandise, and have created figurines based on characters from “Princess Mononoke,” “My Neighbor Totoro,” and the Oscar-winning “Spirited Away.“

Okubo is also highly lauded for her detailed Japanese paper (washi) figures.

The company has been seeing proceeds around 250-470 million yen yearly for several years, according to an unspecified credit research company quoted by the Mainichi Shimbun.

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