TOKYO: Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe plans to submit his resignation as early as Wednesday morning after coming under fire for inappropriate use of tax money, including spending on family trips and artwork, public broadcaster NHK said.
He would be the second governor to quit since Tokyo won the rights to hold the 2020 Summer Olympics, though officials say his departure would not impact preparations for the games. His predecessor quit over a funding scandal just months after the Japanese capital was awarded the games.
Masuzoe, 67, who won election in 2014 with support from the ruling coalition of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, came under increasingly intense pressure to quit due to his repeated refusals to explain his use of public funds, which included buying comic books for his children.
Threatened with a no-confidence vote in the Tokyo assembly, set for Wednesday afternoon, the governor’s position has become increasingly untenable.
The no-confidence motion has been backed by both opposition and coalition parties, ultimately including Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) due to worries over the possible impact on an Upper House election next month should Masuzoe remain in place despite mounting public outrage.
Masuzoe’s refusal to explain his spending fuelled anger among Tokyo voters, who have bombarded the government with complaints. Opinion polls found a vast majority calling for his head.
“It’s only natural that he quit,” said Tomoko Oyama, an assembly member from the Communist Party who was one of Masuzoe’s most vocal opponents.
“He was pushed out by the wishes of Tokyo voters.”
On Monday, Masuzoe had pledged to return his…