Tokyoites rap Inose over money scandal

Kyodo

Tokyo residents voiced criticism Thursday of Gov. Naoki Inose, who announced his resignation earlier in the day for taking ¥50 million from scandal-tainted hospital chain Tokushukai.

“The way he responded to questions in metropolitan assembly hearings was embarrassing,” said a 63-year-old self-employed man who lives near Inose’s private office in Minato Ward. “It’s better for him to concentrate on working as a writer.”

Inose, a former author before he turned to politics, has been embroiled in the scandal for weeks.

“We were expecting him to provide more convenient living conditions by offering things such as a 24-hour metropolitan bus service,” said a 30-year-old housewife. “It’s disappointing to think politics and money are always tied together.”

Eri Yanagida, a 34-year-old company employee, said: “I don’t understand why he kept making excuses. It’s obvious to everyone that what he did was something wrong.”

Inose’s resignation came after pressure had mounted for him to step down, not only from the metropolitan assembly but from the central government and his predecessor, former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara.

“He contributed to Tokyo’s successful bid to host the Olympics, and I wanted him to stay in office a little longer,” said Kiyoshi Hashimoto, 90.

Meiji University professor Yasushi Aoyama said he expects the metropolitan government to face a tough time in February, when the special election to replace Inose will likely be held, as it is usually a crucial time for its budgeting process.

Aoyama was Tokyo vice governor from 1999 to 2003 under Gov. Ishihara. Inose was vice governor from 2007 to 2012.