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Embattled Tokyo governor calls it quits
Publication Date : 19-12-2013
Under fire from all sides, Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose said Thursday he is stepping down from the post over 50 million yen (US$485,000) he received from scandal-tainted medical group Tokushukai, a dramatic fall from grace for the man who spearheaded Tokyo’s successful bid to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“I made efforts to fulfil my responsibility to explain [the money in question] to the public at Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly meetings and press conferences, but I couldn’t dispel their suspicion,” Inose said at a press conference Thursday morning in the Tokyo metropolitan government office. “I would never want to hold up the administration of Tokyo and preparations for the Olympic Games due to my personal issues. I came to the decision that I had to quit.”
“I’m very sorry and I want to apologise,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Inose submitted a letter of resignation to Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly Chairman Toshiaki Yoshino.
An election to decide Inose’s successor is expected to be held by early February.
Inose had recently come under increasing pressure to step down after he repeatedly gave inconsistent explanations about the money at recent meetings of the assembly’s General Affairs Committee.
The assembly had decided to set up a so-called Article 100 committee to investigate the money, which Inose has insisted was a loan for personal use and not for his campaign for the Tokyo gubernatorial election in December 2012.
At Thursday’s press conference, Inose again said the money was a personal loan, but added, “I shouldn’t have borrowed it.”
Inose received the money from Tokushukai before the election. He claimed he returned it in September after the medical group was searched over alleged fraud in the House of Representatives election in December last year.
He had repeatedly asserted that the money was borrowed for personal use, stressing that this was why he told only his wife about it.
Inose, a 67-year-old prize-winning writer, was elected governor in a landslide win in the Tokyo election in December 2012, and previously served as vice governor.