Genshiro Kawamoto has been called many things — eccentric, mysterious, a nuisance. You can add one more to the list: suspected criminal.

The Japanese billionaire, who owns at least 30 luxury properties on Oahu, mostly in Kahala, was arrested on Tuesday in Tokyo on suspicion of failing to pay more than 800 million yen, or $8.5 million, in corporate taxes, according to Japanese news reports.

Kawamoto, 81, will be held in a jail cell in Tokyo for the next 10 to 20 days while prosecutors review evidence, a spokesman for the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office in Japan told Civil Beat. Kawamoto will not be able to bail himself out before 10 days in accordance with Japanese law, the prosecutor’s office said.

The arrest has some of his Hawaii neighbors wondering what will happen to his multi-million dollar mansions on Oahu, many of which have already been vandalized, trashed and overrun with rats.

The Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting, which has cited Kawamoto a number of times for property neglect violations, says it’s too soon to tell. A statement from Director Designate George Atta reads:

It’s too early to comment on how Mr. Kawamoto’s legal problems in Japan will impact his properties in Hawaii. DPP has not received any information or requests for assistance from the Japanese government.  However, DPP’s records and files regarding Mr. Kawamoto’s properties and violations are public records. We will provide this information to the Japanese government if requested.

Kawamoto has received 65 notices of violation since 2005 on 25 of his Kahala properties, most of them for litter and overgrowth, according to DPP spokesman Curtis Lum. He has since corrected all the violations and paid $42,000 in fines, Lum said.

Some news sources have linked the $8.5 million in back taxes with sculptures he purchased for his Kahala properties.

If this were true, under U.S. law the government would be able to confiscate Kawamoto’s properties, according to interviews with several Honolulu lawyers. However, because Kawamoto is a Japanese citizen and because he was arrested in Japan, the alleged crime falls under Japan’s jurisdiction.

Many Kahala residents have expressed frustration with what Kawamoto has done — or rather, not done — to his multi-million dollar properties.

Longtime resident Mary Charles has owned an old, “Hawaiian-style” home in Kahala for more than 30 years, and says that living in “Kawamoto Land” has been a nightmare.

“He wreaks havoc in the community and is a terrible neighbor,” Charles told Civil Beat in an interview.

She is one of the few residents who turned down Kawamoto when he tried to buy her property. A few years ago, he offered to pay her $3 million — about $1 million more than market value. She refused.

“Our home is a home, it’s not a commodity,” she said.

Weeks later, she received notice from the city that someone had submitted an anonymous complaint that her trees and hedges were overgrown. There had never been any complaints about Charles’ trees or hedges, which had come with the house when she bought it more than 30 years ago.

Still, she would rather pay the fines and trim her trees than succumb to what she suspects are attempts by Kawamoto to drive her out of her home. Upon learning about her neighbor’s arrest, she had mixed feelings.

“I don’t know if him getting arrested solves any problems,” Charles said. “He could just stay in Japan and not do anything on his properties and let it rot. If he’s not going to be around, it’s just going to get worse.”

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