Author Inose agrees to become Ishihara’s deputy

by Jun Hongo

Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara announced Friday that writer Naoki Inose has agreed to serve as a vice governor for the capital.

Ishihara, who was re-elected in April to a third term, told a news conference that the prominent advocate of decentralization has accepted the offer to join the metropolitan government despite difference in opinion with the governor.

“Mr. Inose has an influential voice against the central government as well as understandings of the issues between the metropolitan government and the state,” Ishihara told reporters.

Inose, 60, was a member of the central government’s panel on privatization of the four quasigovernmental expressway operators in 2002. He was appointed a member of the Council for Decentralization Reform in April.

He disagrees with Ishihara on relocation of the nation’s capital, something the mayor opposes, and on some national tax proposals, which Inose says may not benefit Tokyo.

“Our opinions might differ but I believe it is healthy for us to debate and discuss many of our differences,” Ishihara said. He said the Metropolitan Assembly will vote on the appointment in the near future.