Governor of Tokyo, Yoichi Masuzoe, will be standing down following a spending scandal.
Masuzoe had allegedly used official funds to pay for holidays, art and comic books for his children. The governor was expected to lose a vote of no confidence in Tokyo’s assembly on Wednesday.
The scandal precedes Japans upper house elections and thus could be potentially damaging to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party in the 10 July elections.Masuzoe has denied breaking the law but admitted to ethical lapses around his lavish spending. He had won the election promising a scandal-free administration.
In April, Masuzoe used his official car to be driven to a weekend cottage in the south of Tokyo. Further allegations emerged of excessive spending on official trips, high-end spa stays, lavish family outings and high-end clothing. The governor claimed that many of the items were research or work-related items and that some reservations were made by his assistants, whilst his accountant may have erroneously booked some of his personal expenses as work expenses.
With regards to his frequent visits to his holiday home, Japanese newspaper The Mainchi, quotes the governor as saying,
“I have had surgery on a pelvic joint and had an artificial joint put in, and I can’t spread my legs in my bath at my (regular) home. My bathtub in Yugawara is wide, and getting in the bath and stretching my legs about once a week will speed up my recovery.” On the news program, however, Masuzoe said, “I will rethink the frequency (of my visits to my vacation home).”
The governor has said that he will return the money that had been wrongly claimed. Naoki Inose, his predecessor, also quit following a funding scandal in 2013, just after Tokyo won the rights to host the 2020 Olympics. Masuzoe’s resignation means that a stand-in governor will be accepting the Olympic flag for Tokyo at the end of the Rio Olympics in August.