Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose says he will forego his salary for one year to atone for trouble he caused after it came to light that he received a 50 million yen loan from the scandal-hit medical group Tokushukai before his election last December.
Inose, 67, announced his decision at a news conference late Monday after being questioned for four hours by the general affairs committee of the Tokyo metropolitan assembly.
Inose reiterated that he received the loan for personal reasons and that he did not have to report it because it did not constitute election campaign funds. Under the Japanese election law, campaign treasurers must report all income, such as donations, related to electioneering.
Inose said that he was offered the money by the Tokudas, the family running the powerful medical group Tokushukai, although Japanese media have reported that it was Inose himself who reached out to the Tokuda family and asked for 100 million yen before the election.
Takeshi Tokuda, a lower house member, relayed Inose's request to his father and the founder of the medical group, Torao Tokuda, who then provided 50 million yen without collateral or interest, NHK said.
Prosecutors have investigated the Tokushukai group, which runs dozens of major hospitals throughout the nation, over an allegation of illegal electioneering practice, including providing money to campaign workers, at the time the younger Tokuda ran for the lower house.
Inose admitted to receiving the money, which he said he had paid back, after the investigation surfaced in September.
He said he was only able to return the money after the investigation because he had been busy running Tokyo's bid to host the 2020 Olympics, and because he had to attend to his wife, who was hospitalised.
Inose has declined to say what the loan was for.© Japan Today/AFP