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2013年12月21日 (土)

猪瀬都知事辞職 東電病院問題にまで幕引くな

The Yomiuri Shimbun December 20, 2013
Inose’s resignation must not blur TEPCO hospital sell-off problem
猪瀬都知事辞職 東電病院問題にまで幕引くな(12月20日付・読売社説)

Naoki Inose’s announcement that he was stepping down as governor of Tokyo was inevitable, as the administration of the nation’s capital could not be run with a person at the helm who is mired in such enormous problems.

Inose expressed on Thursday his intention to resign as head of the Tokyo metropolitan government over his acceptance of ¥50 million from scandal-hit Tokushukai, the operator of a major chain of medical facilities.

In a news conference that day, Inose reiterated his assertion that the ¥50 million in question was a personal loan.

However, it is hard to reconcile this with the fact that the cash handover took place just ahead of Tokyo’s gubernatorial election in December 2012. The governor has the authority to approve the opening of new Tokushukai-run facilities, including hospitals, and can wield such powers as directing and supervising management.

It was clear from the start that Inose’s assertion would not hold up. He gave the impression of being driven into a corner by his haphazard string of excuses.

His statements about his actions the day he received the cash and where it was kept thereafter were inconsistent.

Shortly before the announcement of his intention to resign, suspicions emerged that he may have lied during a session of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly about the sell-off of a hospital run by Tokyo Electric Power Co.

It is on record that Inose pressed TEPCO to sell the Tokyo hospital in question at a general meeting of the utility’s shareholders in June last year, while serving as vice governor of Tokyo. The metropolitan government is TEPCO’s largest shareholder.

Pile of unresolved problems

Tokushukai participated in competitive bidding to take over the hospital, but had to withdraw its bid after it became subject to an investigation by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office’s special investigation squad over election irregularities.

Ahead of his declaration that he would run in the Tokyo gubernatorial contest in 2012, Inose met with former House of Representatives member Torao Tokuda, Tokushukai’s founder.

In response to a question posed during the Dec. 6 metropolitan assembly session, Inose said he and Tokuda “did not say anything about the sell-off” of the TEPCO hospital. However, it subsequently emerged through the statements of people concerned that the two did exchange words about the sell-off.

Are we to believe that the delivery of cash two weeks after the Inose-Tokuda talks was unrelated to the sale of the TEPCO hospital?

Some of the documents about the hospital bid that the metropolitan government submitted to the metropolitan assembly at its request were entirely blacked out.

We should emphasize that none of the suspected irregularities involving Inose has been resolved. He would be gravely mistaken if he believes that his accountability has been fulfilled simply by quitting the top post of the Tokyo government.

The special investigators of the Tokyo public prosecutors office must pull out all the stops to uncover the details of the ¥50 million cash handover from Tokushukai to Inose, in addition to the office’s investigations into the hospital chain’s alleged violations of the Public Offices Election Law.

After winning the Tokyo gubernatorial election with 4.34 million votes, a record high for a Tokyo governor, Inose’s methods of steering the metropolitan government became high-handed and self-centered, as shown by such acts as suddenly announcing new policies at news conferences without prior explanations to the metropolitan assembly.

The way he placed a lopsidedly high priority on transmitting his own views via the Internet and other media, while being neglectful of building a relationship of mutual trust with the metropolitan assembly, which should have been of the greatest significance to him, diminished his character as a politician. This was made blatantly clear by his self-righteous responses to interpellations in the assembly over the dubious ¥50 million.

The top post of the nation’s capital requires a person who can properly run a range of related organizations. This should be a key consideration in electing Inose’s successor.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 20, 2013)
(2013年12月20日01時36分  読売新聞)


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