Tokyo Governor resigns over funds scandal

Tokyo, June 15 (IANS) Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe on Wednesday submitted his resignation following his involvement in a political funds scandal, an official of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) said on Wednesday.

Masuzoe submitted his resignation letter to the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly and is expected to leave his post next week, public broadcaster NHK reported.

Seven ruling and opposition groups from the assembly will submit a no-confidence motion against him on Wednesday afternoon.

The embattled governor is accused of using around 450,000 yen ($4,239) from his now defunct political funds body to pay for accommodation and dining expenses for a trip he made with his family to a luxury hotel in the New Year holiday season.

He has also been accused of taking multiple trips overseas since he became governor in 2014, to the tune of 200 million yen ($1 million), and has faced accusations of commandeering government vehicles for his own use to visit his villa at a hot spring resort just outside Tokyo as many as 50 times, all at the taxpayer’s cost.

Allegations levied against Masuzoe, who is known for his lavish lifestyle, also claimed he improperly used funds to purchase expensive art, books and clothing, causing further indignation from taxpayers here.

On Monday, he was in the hot seat when he faced questioning by members of the metropolitan assembly. They wanted details about the allegations, but in many cases Masuzoe refused to elaborate.

The Tokyo election committee will now decide on the timeline for a vote to choose the next governor.

It will likely be held at the end of July or early August.



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