Prosecutors question former Tokyo governor over cash payment, media report says

Naoki Inose faces prosecutors investigating undeclared US$500,000 payment he admits was made to him by a hospital tycoon

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 January, 2014, 11:58am
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 January, 2014, 12:40pm

Japanese prosecutors have questioned the man who resigned as Tokyo governor in December over a money scandal, media reported, as an election campaign to replace him kicked off on Thursday.

Tokyo prosecutors have begun questioning Naoki Inose, on a voluntary basis, over an undeclared payment of US$500,000 from a hospital tycoon, Jiji Press reported, quoting unnamed sources.

After weeks of pressure, Inose, 67, admitted having accepted the cash, which critics implied amounted to a bribe and an attempt to influence policy.

Inose, elected head of one of the world’s biggest conurbations a year earlier with a record 4.34 million votes, had been one of the main faces of Tokyo’s successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics.

The report came as candidates, including former prime minister Morihiro Hosokawa, started a 17-day campaign on Thursday for the chance to govern the metropolis of 13 million people.

Hosokawa, who served in the nation’s top job in 1993-4, officially announced his candidacy on Wednesday, backed by popular former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, with the two men both playing up their anti-atomic stance.