National

Hyogo mayor who called senior official 'stupid' over stalled evictions to make way for road quits

Kyodo

A Hyogo Prefecture mayor submitted a letter of resignation Friday after facing criticism for calling a senior city official “stupid” and suggesting he “burn down” a local building that stood in the way a road project, officials said.

“I apologize again for what happened. I lack the qualities of a leader,” Akashi Mayor Fusaho Izumi said at a news conference after submitting the letter to the chairperson of the municipal assembly.

“I should not be forgiven for what I said. I am deeply responsible,” Izumi was quoted earlier by the officials as saying. “I apologize to the citizens for making Akashi appear in the media in such a way.”

In the heated exchange in June 2017 a raging Izumi reportedly told the official to burn the building, which was home to businesses and residences.

While not literally asking the official to set fire to the building, he was instructing him to use all means possible to evict the tenants and move the project forward.

Izumi, 55, said Tuesday that he had apologized Monday to the official, acknowledging that his behavior was an abuse of power resulting from an angry outburst.

The mayor’s outburst was reportedly sparked because authorities had failed to make progress in negotiations to evict the building’s tenants over a period of approximately five years.