OSAKA — The Osaka Prefectural Assembly on Monday unanimously accepted the resignation of Gov. “Knock” Yokoyama, who was charged last week with molesting a female campaign worker. A gubernatorial by-election will be held Feb. 6. Yokoyama tendered his letter of resignation to the assembly last Tuesday after prosecutors raided his office, official residence and private home the previous day, just hours before he was indicted. Yokoyama was admitted to a hospital in Suita, Osaka Prefecture, early on Dec. 20, suffering from angina. Yokoyama, 67, was first elected Osaka governor in 1995 after he served in the House of Councilors. He was re-elected with 2.35 million votes last April despite a complaint filed by the woman, a 21-year-old university student, with the Osaka District Prosecutor’s Office that he had molested her in the back seat of a campaign van three days before the election.Yokoyama later filed a counter-complaint with the same office, claiming that he had been falsely accused by the part-time campaign worker. The woman filed a 15 million yen damages suit against Yokoyama in August and the Osaka District Court ordered him to pay 11 million yen on Dec. 13 after he refused to contest the civil case. Outside court, he claimed that the truth would come out in the course of the criminal investigation. The Osaka Prefectural Government has temporarily suspended Yokoyama’s retirement allowance for his second term, according to officials. Prefectural ordinances dictate that Yokoyama receive 10.4 million yen for his services since April within a month of retirement, but the ordinance also states that the allowance can be stopped if an official is indicted, they said. The officials said the prefecture will probably ask Yokoyama to repay his first term retirement allowance of 56.8 million yen if he is found guilty of molesting the woman, because the incident allegedly happened during his first term.

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