Naoki Inose’s sudden exit from Tokyo leaves behind a leaderless capital and a gaping pothole on the road to the 2020 Olympic Games.
The embattled Tokyo governor resigned Thursday over a still-simmering scandal that exposed a 50 million yen loan from the powerful Tokuda family, leaving the capital hanging in the balance.
“It’s unfortunate that the resignation came at this time,” Tsunekazu Takeda, president of the Japanese Olympic Committee, said.
Inose’s departure has upended the groundwork for the 2020 Games, such as creating an Olympic organization committee by early February. Although the membership and structure of the organization committee has been in the works for months, it is still not clear who will head the body.
By-elections for a new governor will be held on February 2 or February 9. Until then, talks on Olympic infrastructure, including cost-sharing for a new national stadium, will be held up.
Inose had also previously said he wanted to subject the national government’s plan to vetting by a third-party panel to ensure fair burden on metropolitan taxpayers.
But the absence of top-level representation, Tokyo’s “leverage for negotiation will no doubt take a hit,” a metropolitan official said.
Inose’s successor will have to jump right into a review of 10.3 billion yen ($97.9 million) in proposed appropriations for the Olympics before sending the draft budget for next fiscal year to the metropolitan assembly in February, the Nikkei reports.
Among members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party being floated as possible candidates are prominent female lawmakers: Seiko Hashimoto; Yuriko Koike; and newscaster-turned-politician Tamayo Marukawa.
Education Minister Hakubun Shimomura and Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara, son of former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, also have strong support.
By Maesie Bertumen
Image: Yahoo News