Sonic Creator Yuji Naka Found Guilty of Insider Trading but Won’t Go to Jail

Published: July 7, 2023 12:44 AM /



Today ANN News reported that Sonic Creator Yuji Naka has been found guilty of insider trading by the Tokyo District Court.

The court ruled that Naka's actions were seen as malicious due to the scale of the stock purchases he performed.  The sentence is two years and six months of jail time plus a fine of 2 million yen and an additional charge of approximately 170 million yen. That's approximately $1.2 million at the current exchange rates. 

While the sentence matches the prosecutor's demands made during a hearing in June, Naka-san won't actually go to jail, as long as he respects the law going forward. His sentence has been suspended and turned into 4 years of probation similarly to his co-defendant Taisuke Sazaki, as the court recognized that he acknowledged his crime and showed remorse. 

The Japanese legal system prescribes that jail time for non-repeat offenders can be replaced by the court with a number of years of "suspended sentence." This is basically the equivalent of a period of probation in which the defendant must not commit further crimes and fulfill possible additional conditions. If the defendant violates these conditions, they have to serve the full jail time. 

Probation is prescribed only for sentences of up to three years, which means that Naka-san was rather close to having to serve actual jail time. 

Both Naka-san and Sazaki-san were accused of violating the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act while working at Square Enix by illegally purchasing shares in the external studio that developed recent Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest mobile games based on insider information acquired while performing their duties. Having been made aware of the announcements ahead of time provided them with the awareness that the shares would grow in value. Naka-san's line of defense was partly based on the allegation that said information unrelated to his duties was mistakenly sent to him and he just happened to see it.

If you're unfamiliar with Yuji Naka, he's credited with co-creating the Sonic franchise. He left Sega in 2006 to form his own game studio, Prope, releasing a few games including Rodea the Sky Soldier for the Wii. In 2018, he joined Square Enix to create Balan Wonderworld. He then left Square Enix following the game's mediocre critical reception.

Below you can check out the full report from ANN News.   

Featured image courtesy of Yuji Naka's Twitter account.


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More Info About This Game
Learn more about Balan Wonderworld
Game Page Balan Wonderworld
Balan Studios
Square Enix
Release Date
March 26, 2021 (Calendar)
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