Genghis Khan producer Haruki Kadokawa has announced his return to the director's chair after a 10-year absence.

At a press conference held in central Tokyo yesterday, Kadokawa announced he will direct a film starring 17-year-old Korean actress Ara, who made her film debut in a supporting role in the producer's recently released Genghis Khan.

The film is scheduled to go before cameras this summer and slated for a 2008 release. The untitled project is currently at the screenplay stage, but will be a love story that spans 400 years, centring on a high school student (Ara) who is transported back to the Edo era.

Kadokawa's last effort as director was another time travel story, 1997's live-action adaptation of Yasutaka Tsutsui's famed novel The Little Girl Who Conquered Time. The same story was made into an award-winning animated feature last year under the title The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. Kadokawa's most well-known directorial effort abroad is the 1990 samurai epic Heaven And Earth.

After being released from prison in 2004 after a four-year jail term for drug-related charges, the producer's late 2005 comeback hit Yamato earned $43.17m. The film's success paved the way for his dream project, Genghis Khan.

Despite the widest release ever for a Japanese film (444 screens) and opening at the top of the box office on March 3, the film has dropped out of the top 10 and looks unlikely to reach distributor Shochiku's final estimate of $17m (Y2bn).

Kadokawa's base of operations, the Kadokawa Haruki Corporation, is also being sued for Y150m ($1.27m) in damages by the head of the production committee created to raise funds for the $25m film.

The suit alleges that Kadokawa refused to sign an agreement transferring the rights of production to KHC before shooting began on location in Mongolia. 'It's not a problem. I will win, 100%. I'm considering counter-suing for damages,' said the confident producer at yesterday's press conference.