Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose, under fire for accepting a loan from the scandal-hit Tokushukai hospital group, walked out of his regular Friday news conference, after he was apparently displeased by questions about the issue. The meeting just lasted three and a half minutes and he refused to come back even after the press club requested he return to the conference.
This was the first news conference for December and is usually held every Friday. It started off well as the governor explained plans by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to support Izu Oshima Island, which was devastated by Typhoon Wipha in October. But when one of the reporters started asking him about the 50 million yen that he loaned from the group that is now under investigation for illegal electoral practices, Inose refused to answer. He said, “I will explain that in the assembly’s general affairs committee session scheduled for later this month.” When another reporter pushed for a statement concerning his possible resignation, he said the news conference was done and then left the room.
After being grilled for four hours by the general affairs committee of the Tokyo metropolitan assembly last week, Inose announced that he was giving up one year of his salary to atone for all the trouble caused by his involvement with the Tokushukai group. While he has apologized for this issue, the governor insists that the loan was a personal one and did not fall under election campaign funds. How he has handled the news conference has been criticized by analysts. Tatsumi Tanaka, a corporate risk management consultant said that every time he opens his mouth, he has made it worse. He needs to apologize sincerely to Tokyo residents, and accept the necessary penalties,” she said. Former Tottori Prefecture governor Yoshihiro Katayama weighed in, saying that governors have a responsibility to answer all questions at news conferences, not just the ones that are convenient for him.
[ via Mainichi ]