Disgraced Japanese mega-producer Haruki Kadokawa is makinghis come-back in typical splashy fashion, with the announcement of a major newproduction commemorating the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Titled Otokotachi NoYamato (Yamato), the film will be based on a non-fiction book by Jun Henmiabout the sinking of the Yamato, Japan's last large battleship, in the closingdays of the war. Of the 3,000 men on board, only 270 survived and the event isstill mourned as a national tragedy.

The director will be veteran Junya Sato and the distributor,Toei. Last spring Toei producer Jun Sakagami purchased the rights to the Henmibook and asked Kadokawa, recently released from prison, to co-produce.

Kadokawa will supply half of the Y3bn ($27m) production costfrom his own funds, with Toei and other backers putting up the remainder. Thefilm is set for a 2005 release.

Once one of the most powerful producers in Japan,responsible for some of the industry's biggest hits from the mid-1970s to theearly 1990s, Kadokawa fell on hard times following his 1993 arrest for cocainesmuggling. His dinosaur epic Rex waspulled from cinemas, he lost control of the publishing company founded by hisfather and was blacklisted by the industry for years while he fought hisconviction. He ended up serving a two and a half year sentence and was releasedin April of this year.