Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose, strongly criticized after his admission that he borrowed 50 million yen (approx. US$493,000) from the Tokushukai hospital group before running for election last December, has said he will not be resigning due to this controversy. While he offered a “heartfelt apology” for causing trouble for his constituents and the metropolitan government, he will not be forced out of his office.
During a press conference on Tuesday, Inose showed a document that he borrowed the money as a personal loan and not as funds for his election campaign. The breakdown of his campaign spending that he submitted did not include the 50 million yen and he might be facing sanctions if the loan was in fact used to help elect him to the gubernatorial seat. He explained that he met with Torao Tokuda, head of the Tokushukai group and father of lawmaker Takeshi Tokuda, in November last year and told him about his intention to run for governor of Tokyo. He also met with the younger Tokuda a few days later and later on, he received the 50 million yen at Takeshi Tokuda’s office and signed a document that showed he was borrowing the money. Inose said he will make up for the trouble he has caused by “working myself to the bone.”
When news broke out that prosecutors were investigating the Tokushukai group for election fraud, he had his secretary return the full amount to Torao Tokuda’s wife. They then mailed the document he signed to the governor’s office. Inose said he was unaware that the Tokushukai group also had medical facilities in Tokyo. The metropolitan government has received more than 350 calls, emails and fax messages the past days, criticizing Inose over the loan. On Tuesday, they also received an envelope containing a blade and addressed to the governor.
[ via Kyodo ]