National

Former Tokyo Gov. Inose blamed for expressway fender-bender in Minato Ward

Kyodo, Staff Report

Former Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose, who resigned in 2013 over a money scandal, caused a minor car collision on an expressway in Tokyo Wednesday, police said.

According to the Metropolitan Police Department, Inose was on Metropolitan Expressway No. 3 in Minato Ward at around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday when he collided with another car in a merging lane.

Neither Inose nor the two people in the other car, a woman in her 60s and another man, were injured, the police said, adding that Inose may have failed to pay enough attention.

The disgraced prize-winning author and critic stepped down as governor in December 2013 over a scandal involving a ¥50 million loan from the Tokushukai hospital group that was aimed at supporting his 2012 gubernatorial campaign, which he won.

At the time, Inose was the right-hand man of his predecessor, the outspoken nationalist Shintaro Ishihara, who was behind a contentious bid to purchase some of the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea from private-sector owners.

The government, which was then led by the Democratic Party of Japan, now the opposition Democratic Party, later nationalized the islets to keep them out of Ishihara’s hands. This angered China and turned the uninhabited islets into a major thorn in Sino-Japanese relations.

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