National / Crime & Legal

Ex-Okinawa deputy governor files defamation suit over corruption charge

Kyodo

The former Okinawa deputy governor who resigned earlier this week over claims he pressured an education official to secure teaching jobs for three people said Thursday he has filed a defamation complaint against the man he allegedly asked for the favor.

Mitsuo Ageda, who was a key local representative in talks with the central government on a plan to relocate a U.S. base within Okinawa, again denied the charge by former Superintendent of Schools Akira Moromizato that he asked him to make the appointments at local public schools.

The former deputy governor is alleged to have told Moromizato to “please take care of it” when he handed him a note.

On the note, the names of three applicants taking the 2015 teacher hiring exam were written, according to a document submitted by Moromizato to Okinawa’s education board.

But Ageda, who filed the damages suit with the Naha District Court, told a news conference on Thursday: “It’s not at all true that I urged such a thing. The account by the former schools superintendent is not true and I’ve been badly defamed by this fabricated story.”

In response to news of the suit, Moromizato said there was nothing untrue in his explanation and he was ready to “take up (the legal battle) as I cannot run away from it.”

He has said he did not respond to the then deputy governor’s demands, including for other personnel appointments.

According to Moromizato, Ageda also demanded preferential appointments to Okinawa’s education board by giving specific names to Moromizato. Ageda intimidated him when he rejected the requests, Moromizato said.

Ageda said he admitted conveying “the requests and recommendations brought to him” by others but denied threatening Moromizato.

He added, “I’ve learned that communicating views and requests concerning personnel as a deputy governor to a person in charge can be taken as meddling in personnel management, and I deeply regret having done such a thoughtless thing after all this time.”

While consistently rejecting the allegations, Ageda said he decided to step down to avoid “stagnation in the prefectural administration.”

Ageda is said to have served as a middleman between the central government and Okinawa in negotiations on the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from a crowded residential area of Ginowan to the less populated Henoko coastal area of Nago.

His resignation Monday could affect the ongoing negotiations.

Coronavirus banner