KOBE – The Hyogo Prefectural Assembly on Friday filed a document falsification charge against a lawmaker who was filmed bawling his eyes out at a televised press conference when questioned about his expenses.
The unusual sight was widely viewed and ridiculed online and by TV viewers worldwide.
Ryutaro Nonomura, 47, resigned the same day after attempting to address questions about his high spending.
Nonomura, an independent, provided insufficient receipts for about ¥3 million of spending on 195 one-day business trips to such destinations as a hot springs resort in Hyogo, and on trips to Tokyo and Fukuoka from Nishinomiya in fiscal 2013, his political funds report showed.
He also purchased stamps worth about ¥1.75 million in the business year that ended in March, the report showed.
During a three-hour news conference on July 1, Nonomura burst into tears, thumped a table and yelled at reporters. He insisted he had spent the money on “vigorous political activities” and denied wrongdoing, but he failed to provide a full account of how the funds were used.
The footage of his press conference posted online was viewed more than 2 million times and major news organizations worldwide reported the incident.
Tadao Kajitani, chairman of the assembly, urged Nonomura in writing to quit if he could not account for the money. Members of the Liberal Democratic Party, the largest group in the assembly, also demanded his immediate resignation.
Nonomura said during questioning by the assembly that he does not remember the details of the day trips and deleted all data on travel destinations and political activities from his personal computer.
Nonomura has said he will return the funds that he cannot account for, assembly sources said. A civic group in Hyogo is planning to file a criminal complaint over his spending