Tokyo governor resigns amid financial scandal

Inose was under pressure to step down after receiving nearly $500,000 from Japanese hospital chain prior to election.

Last updated: 19 Dec 2013 03:52
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Outgoing Governor Naoki Inose said he did not understand how 'strict' politicians had to be [Reuters]

The governor of Tokyo has stepped down after receiving nearly $500,000 from a Japanese hospital tycoon ahead of his election.

Facing mounting pressure to quit, Governor Naoki Inose, who helped Tokyo secure the 2020 Olympic Games just a few months ago, formalised his resignation on Thursday.

"I have decided to resign from the post of Tokyo governor," Inose told reporters. "I intended to fulfil my duty of explaining to the city assembly, people of Tokyo and people of the nation, but regrettably I could not clear doubts over me. It's solely because of my lack of virtue."

Inose has admitted to receiving the money from the family behind the massive Tokushukai hospital chain ahead of the election, but claimed it was an interest-free personal loan.

He did not declare the sum in his gubernatorial campaign accounts.

Political pressure

An author-turned-politician, Inose, elected as governor a year ago, was one of the most powerful political figures in Japan.

The financial scandal brought substantial political pressure upon Inose to step aside, particularly in the run-up to the 2020 Games.

A special aide to Shinzo Abe said the Japanese prime minister found it "globally embarrassing that the central and Tokyo governments cannot discuss the Olympics" at the moment, according to a report in the Japan Times.

Inose said his resignation was partially aimed at avoiding a negative impact on preparations for the Games.

The 67-year-old also admitted he had been naive about the cut and thrust of Japan's politics.

"I didn't know how strict professional politicians need to be," he said, adding he was unclear about all the procedures he was expected to follow.

"I was an amateur politician even though I knew well about policies. I myself thought it was extraordinary that I became Tokyo governor," he said.

Prosecutors have investigated the Tokushukai group, which runs dozens of major hospitals throughout the country, over allegations of illegal electioneering practices, including providing money to campaign workers when a family member ran for the lower house of parliament.


Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
A political power struggle masquerading as religious strife grips Nigeria - with mixed-faith couples paying the price.
The current surge in undocumented child migrants from Central America has galvanized US anti-immigration groups.
Absenteeism among doctors at government hospitals is rife, prompting innovative efforts to ensure they turn up for work.
Marginalised and jobless, desperate young men in Nairobi slums provide fertile ground for al-Shabab.
The Khmer Rouge tribunal is set to hear genocide charges for targeting ethnic Vietnamese and Cham Muslims.
join our mailing list