If formed, a Tokyo assembly committee could pry Masuzoe from governorship
Public calls for Tokyo Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe to step down grew Tuesday despite his apology a day earlier and a pledge to refund some of the \4.4 million in “improper” political spending he is responsible for.
But Masuzoe appeared determined to stay in office, and indeed forcing him to step down may prove difficult given the size of the loopholes in the Political Funds Control Law, experts say.
Attention has now shifted to whether the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly will set up an investigative committee with the muscle to pry Masuzoe from his position, they say.
“The assembly has the means to investigate. Will it play its own role seriously and set up the committee? That’s the key question,” said Hiroshi Kamiwaki, a professor at Kobe Gakuin University and an expert on political money issues.
The governor has taken much flak recently for misappropriating millions of yen in “political funds” for his private use.
The expenses covered everything from wining and dining and family trips to purchases of children’s comic books, mystery novels and various works of art via internet auctions.
Crucially, however, the Political Funds Control Law contains no definition of the “political activities” on which registered political groups can spend. Lawmakers say the law was written that way to guarantee freedom of political activities.
“The law doesn’t have any regulations at all on how money should be spent. If someone insists something is necessary for his or her ‘political activity,’ no one can question that,” said Tomoaki Iwai, a political science professor at Nihon University who specializes on political funding.
During a news conference Monday, a team of lawyers for Masuzoe said they found that “political activity expenses” worth \4.4 million to be “improper” because they suspected the funds were used for private purposes.
The lawyers nevertheless maintained that “no illegality was involved” in any of the transactions.
例文として、"The Presidential advisor stepped down."「大統領顧問が辞職した」とあるように、政治的場面で多く使われます。(Akim)