Tokyo governor resigns amid political funds scandal

Tokyo governor resigns amid political funds scandal

Yoichi Masuzoe was accused of using political funds for ‘improper’ purposes, taking costly business trips

TOKYO (AA) – Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe resigned Wednesday amid a scandal that saw him accused of using political funds for “improper” purposes and taking costly business trips.

Local news agency Kyodo reported that the assembly of the Japanese capital accepted his resignation, which is set to enter into effect Tuesday.

Masuzoe, who assumed office in February 2014, was quoted as saying that he was stepping down so the metropolitan government would not experience “paralysis”.

He had previously insisted that he would not give up the post, but submitted his resignation Wednesday before Tokyo’s assembly was scheduled to pass a no-confidence motion filed against him by all major groups in the body.

The motion was withdrawn later in the day by the assembly’s steering committee.

An investigation requested by Masuzoe had earlier concluded that the governor had used political funds for “improper” but not illegal purposes.

According to Kyodo, Tokyo’s Metropolitan Electoral Management Committee announced that it is preparing for a gubernatorial election to be held July 31 or Aug. 7.

Masuzoe’s resignation comes weeks before an election for parliament’s upper house is held next month and as Tokyo preparers to host the 2020 Olympics.

Masuzoe’s two predecessors had also resigned, with Naoki Inose stepping down in 2013 following accusations that he had inappropriately received money from a hospital chain operator.

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