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The 33-year-old son of the Kochi governor was arrested last month on suspicion of molesting a woman in Tokyo and has since settled the case out of court, police revealed Friday.

In a hastily arranged news conference at the Kochi Prefectural Government building, Gov. Daijiro Hashimoto — brother of former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto — apologized for the incident.

“As his parent, I feel sorry. It hit me so hard,” Hashimoto said, his voice trembling and tears in his eyes. “My wife is more shocked than I am.”

The governor’s second son, whose name has been withheld, was detained Feb. 20 for molesting a woman in a parked car in Shibuya Ward in mid-February, the Metropolitan Police Department said.

The son had been an employee at a Kanto area office of a major travel agency since 1994 but was fired sometime after the firm learned of the incident, police said.

He was released from custody Friday after reaching an out-of-court settlement with the woman, police said.

In connection with the case, friends of the woman were also arrested on suspicion of attempting to extort millions of yen from the governor’s son, but they also will be released under the settlement, the police said.

Hashimoto said he has no intention of stepping down over the incident, saying his son lives independently.

“Criticism can be expected if I let my private affairs interfere with my official duties,” Hashimoto said. “I want to work hard on what I am doing now.”

Hashimoto, who is considered a reform-minded governor, is in his third term. His current term ends in December.

Kimura stands firm

AOMORI (Kyodo) The Aomori Prefectural Assembly approved a motion Friday demanding the governor resign over allegations of an extramarital affair, but Morio Kimura says he isn’t going anywhere.

A majority of the 51-seat assembly supported the nonbinding motion, submitted Wednesday by 39 members of both ruling and opposition camps, including the Liberal Democratic Party, the largest faction in the legislature.

“While I take the facts (of the case) seriously,” Kimura said, “I will not resign.”

Kimura acknowledged that rash conduct in his private life has led to doubts over his character. He voiced regret over his actions and expressed a wish to apologize to the prefecture’s citizens.

The assembly members said Kimura’s explanation of the affair was unconvincing, chastising him for causing confusion in the prefectural administration.

According to a magazine report in January, Kimura, 65, allegedly had a relationship with a woman who had consulted him on tax problems. He has refused to comment, other than to say that a dispute with the woman has been settled.

He is also suspected of violating the Public Offices Election Law by giving souvenirs to the woman when he visited her in his official capacity in March 2001.

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