He said at first he would not resign over the 50 million yen loan scandal, but it seems that Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose has bowed to the pressure from the metropolitan assembly, the central government and even his own party. He announced his official resignation during a press conference on Thursday from from a position he held for a year, as questions over his accepting a loan from the embattled Tokushukai hospital group continue to hound him.
Inose, who was elected governor a little over a year ago on December 16, 2012, has been facing mounting pressure to step down from his position as the investigation into the loan he received from Tokushukai, a group that is now facing vote-buying charges, has revealed more questions rather than answers. He was grilled by the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly committee for over 20 hours in four days and he has backtracked or changed his answers many times, triggering the decision to form a special investigative committee, the first of its kind formed to look into a Tokyo governor’s conduct.
Even his own party, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, has been asking him to step down. LDP Vice President Masahiko Komura said that the fact he received a large amount of money, whether it was a loan or donation, from someone who does business in his jurisdiction, is “enough to warrant his resignation,” he said. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has also said he wants the issue resolved soon so that it will not affect the preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Former Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, who handpicked then vice-governor Inose to succeed him in the December election, has reportedly told him that he has no choice but to give up his position given the circumstances now. Ishihara himself is no stranger to this as he resigned in the middle of his fourth term as governor.
The LDP and its junior coalition partner New Komeito, have been laying the groundwork for a gubernatorial election to be held in February, to avoid clashing with the January 19 mayoral elections in Okinawa. They also want it to happen before April which is when the consumption tax increase goes into effect, as it is expected this will lessen the popularity of the ruling party. If things go according to plan, the ruling party will now have to quickly find a candidate to field in the elections.
[ via Mainichi ]