Major parliamentary groups of the Tokyo metropolitan assembly have decided to set up a special committee legally empowered to investigate a suspicious loan to Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose, in the wake of the governor's flip-flops in explaining the matter, metropolitan assembly members said Tuesday.
Inose was grilled for 20 hours over four days the past two weeks by a committee session of the assembly, but he has backtracked from his remarks several times, triggering protests from the assembly and casting doubts on the credibility of his story.
By setting up the special committee in line with the Local Autonomy Law, Inose or any party called to testify before the committee could be fined or charged for refusing to testify or committing perjury.
Inose is under fire for accepting 50 million yen from the scandal-hit Tokushukai hospital organization ahead of last December's gubernatorial election. He has repeatedly said he borrowed the money for personal purposes not linked to his election campaign, and the money was not reflected in a report on his election campaign.
It will be the first time for the metropolitan assembly to establish the committee to look into a case involving a Tokyo governor. The assembly's steering panel will make the final decision on Wednesday, the assembly members said.
Arrangements are already under way for the committee to hold its first session with Inose next Tuesday at the earliest, a source close to the assembly said.