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A 23-year-old employee of the city of Ota, Gunma Prefecture, lied that he had won an international video game contest, leading to false reports about his victory in two Japanese newspapers, it has been learned.

On Wednesday, the major daily Asahi Shimbun and Jomo Shimbun, the regional newspaper distributed in Gunma, issued an apology and retracted their stories about the man, who has admitted that a detailed account of his win at a French gaming competition was all fiction.

The man, who is a temporary employee of the Ota Municipal Government, even held a news conference at City Hall on Monday, saying he won the tournament for players of “Guilty Gear,” a PlayStation game, held on Sept. 20-21 in Paris. He even cited the name of the tournament, saying he had been invited to the event based on his past records as an amateur player.

The Asahi and Jomo both carried articles on the man with a picture of him holding a game console at the news conference.

Soon after the reports came out, however, other game players pointed out on the internet that no such tournament existed. Pressed by city officials, who arranged the news conference, the man admitted it was a hoax, saying he had never gone to France.

“I inadvertently made a lie about being invited to the competition, and had no choice but to repeat lies to hide my initial lie,” the man told Kyodo News.

The city said it will consider disciplinary action against the man once it confirms all the facts of the matter.

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