Tokyo Gov. Inose says he won't resign over money scandal

Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose, under fire for receiving 50 million yen from a hospital organization before running in last December's gubernatorial election, said Tuesday he does not intend to resign over the matter.

The Tokyo metropolitan government received an envelope the same day addressed to Inose containing a blade, according to police. The Tokyo government also received more than 350 phone calls, e-mail and fax messages over the past four days, mostly criticizing Inose, since the issue came to light last Friday.

"I will make up for it by working myself to the bone," Inose told a press conference Tuesday while presenting a document saying he had borrowed 50 million yen from the Tokushukai hospital and medical facilities chain as a personal loan, not as funds for his election campaign.

Six people linked to House of Representatives member Takeshi Tokuda, the son of former Tokushukai head Torao Tokuda, were arrested earlier this month on suspicion of illegally providing rewards to people who worked on the lower house member's December 2012 general election campaign.

At the news conference, Inose, a 67-year-old writer-turned-politician, offered a "heartfelt apology" to the people of Tokyo and metropolitan government officials as well as metropolitan assembly members for "causing trouble."

Inose said he met with Torao Tokuda, who is suffering from an incurable motor neuron disease, on Nov. 6 last year and told him of his intention to run in the gubernatorial election. He also met Takeshi Tokuda on Nov. 14 last year and said the upcoming campaign would cost money.

Five days later, Takeshi Tokuda asked Inose to come to his office at a building for Diet members and offered to provide 50 million yen over the phone, according to the governor.

Inose said he received 50 million yen at Takeshi Tokuda's office the following day and signed a document stating he had borrowed the money. He produced what he said was the document at the news conference.

After prosecutors launched investigations into Takeshi Tokuda over election violations, one of Inose's secretaries returned the money at a Tokyo hotel in late September this year and the document was later mailed to the governor's office, he said.

Inose said he offered to return the money in late January and would consider paying additional money to the Tokushukai group as interest on the loan. The governor also said he did not know the Tokushukai group runs medical facilities in Tokyo.

Meanwhile, Mitsuhiro Kimura, leader of the right-wing political group Issuikai, told Kyodo News that Takeshi Tokuda offered to lend Inose money when he went out to eat with the two men in Tokyo on Nov. 14.

Takeshi Tokuda told Inose, who was heading for the first election of his political career, that an election often costs 100 million yen, according to Kimura.