Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose will step down weeks after he admitted receiving 50 million yen from scandal-ridden hospital empire Tokushukai.
The embattled politician, who gained plaudits for bringing the 2020 Olympics to Tokyo, announced his resignation in a press conference today.
Inose had said he would decline a year’s worth of his salary in a self-imposed punishment for the trouble caused by the scandal, in which he was linked to the powerful Tokuda family.
He shot down allegations that the money from Takeshi Tokuda, a Lower House member and second son of the founder of the hospital group, was used in his campaigns for the gubernatioral race in December. The governor said he failed to declare the sum because it was a personal loan which he returned.
The move came amid mounting pressure for him to step down from his post, Kyodo news agency said.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was keen to resolve the issue “as soon as possible” to prevent the scandal from overshadowing preparations for the Olympic Games.
“Even the external fact of having received the huge sum of 50 million yen from an individual with some connection to the authority of his office is sufficient grounds for deciding whether he should resign,” Masahiko Komura, vice president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, told reporters.
Given Inose’s prominent role in the Olympic bid process, it was clear that the outspoken former newscaster was beginning to become a distraction. “If he delays his decision, Tokyo’s preparations for the 2020 Olympics will be affected,” Komura said.
The Weekender spoke to Inose in April, and it is a pity that the popular politician, who swept into the position on a landslide victory last year, and who looked a voice for reform in the city and a face of Tokyo 2020.
Image: Huffington Post