An editor at Famitsu, one of Japan's biggest legacy video game publications that has been running since 1986, has been arrested. 43-year-old Eiichi Sato, who was tasked with editing freelancer articles, is being accused of pulling off an impersonation ruse to collect freelancer fees from his articles.
According to Yahoo Japan (via Google Translate and Kotaku), Sato was arrested on the 25th by the Aichi Prefectural Police. Between March and June 2020, Sato is reported to have contributed freelance work under an assumed name, charging the manuscript fee to his office, and transferring it to an account in someone else's name. Totaled up, he claimed a total of around 400,000 yen (a bit over $3,600, about $1,200 per article) In the video below, you can see the local police have put Sato's computer and mobile phones on display, as well as his bank booklets and cards.
Although he has only been just arrested, Sato is admitting to the allegations. "I didn't have any savings," he said according to hicbc.com (via Google Translate) "and I was worried about the future." He also said that he thought he would get caught, but his concerns were drowned out by his desire for lots of money. He had already been in hot water for an arrest on March 8th for buying a second bank account, which was used in the fraud, from someone on social media.
Perhaps the craziest thing about this story though in the end is the money Sato made for his freelance articles. At least in Western countries, games journalism doesn't pay anywhere near that amount, and while the rate is likely inflated as part of the fraud the fact that it was paid out shows that there wasn't anyone stopping at the sight of it. Famitsu does have a unique place in the Japanese market and it has print as well as online advertising, as well as collaborating with Japanese companies giving it a unique product, though it has also been called into question for those close relationships when they make cameos in games that they also give high scores to like Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Super Mario Maker, and Death Stranding.
Kadokawa, the Japanese media conglomerate and parent company to Famitsu, said that they will "cooperate completely with the investigation."