Tokyo prosecutors on Tuesday arrested the president of a tech venture known as one of the developers of the world's fourth-fastest supercomputer on suspicion of defrauding a governmental institution of 431 million yen ($3.8 million) in subsidies.
The special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office also arrested another official connected with the case and raided the Tokyo headquarters of PEZY Computing, which was part of the team that developed the "Gyoukou" supercomputer.
According to the prosecutors, President Motoaki Saito, 49, and Daisuke Suzuki, 47, are suspected of illegally receiving the subsidies from the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization after padding expenses for the venture firm's technological development.
In November, Gyoukou was ranked fourth in the world's supercomputer ranking after achieving 19.14 petaflops, or calculating 19,000 trillion times per second.
Saito advocated the need for the technological advancement of supercomputers and earned fame both at home and abroad. He is known as a pioneer of miniaturizing energy-saving supercomputers, and had expressed eagerness to develop technology, saying he aimed to be the best, not second best.
Japan's public broadcaster NHK said it was planning to air a program featuring Saito next Monday but had cancelled it, citing the ongoing investigation by the prosecutors.
In the February edition of the monthly magazine Seiron, Saito said China is leading in the development of supercomputers and the capability of supercomputers is soon to be considered equivalent to national power.
Expressing his ambition to complete a next-generation supercomputer in two years ahead of other countries, Saito said in the magazine, "We need about 30 billion yen for that so we have to think about how to finance it."
PEZY Computing was established in January 2010 and is currently capitalized at about 940 million yen. It also produces processors and software for computers.