Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose has come out and said that he will forego his salary for one year to atone for trouble he caused after it was reported that he took on a 50 million yen (around US$484 million) loan from the scandal-hit medical group Tokushukai before his election last December. The 67-year-old politician announced his decision at a news conference late on Monday after being questioned for four hours by the general affairs committee of the Tokyo metropolitan assembly.
Inose reiterated to the committee that what he received was a loan for “personal reasons” and that he did not report it because it did not constitute election campaign funds. Under the Japanese election law, campaign treasurers must report all income, such as donations, related to electioneering. “I’d like to give up my governor’s salary for one year as my way to take responsibility. So, I’m thinking of proposing an ordinance enabling that to the current assembly session,” Inose said to the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly committee on Monday. The assembly would have to pass an ordinance to allow Inose to refuse his salary.
The Tokushukai group – which runs dozens of major hospitals throughout Japan – has recently been in the public eye being investigated over an allegation of illegal electioneering practices, including providing money to campaign workers. Inose had admitted to receiving the money for the loan, which he said he had already paid back. Inose has declined to say what the loan was for. According to information from the metropolitan government, the monthly salary for the governor of the capital is usually 1.48 million yen, but that amount currently stands at 1.33 million yen (around US$13,000) as it was slashed by 10 percent in 1999 for financial reasons.