Tokyo Governor, Yoichi Masuzoe, Resigns Over Spending Scandal
TOKYO — The governor of Tokyo resigned on Wednesday, after he admitted using funds intended for political campaigns to pay for personal travel and entertainment, setting off a public furor.
The governor, Yoichi Masuzoe, is the second leader of the Japanese capital’s metropolitan government to leave office over a financial scandal in two and a half years, an especially embarrassing development because the city will host the Summer Olympic Games in 2020and counts on the governor to act as an organizer and global ambassador.
Anger at Mr. Masuzoe’s spending had been building for months, but the governor told the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly that he had hoped to stay on long enough to attend this year’s Games in Rio de Janeiro, where Tokyo will receive a measure of attention as the event’s next host.
“I thought it would be disruptive to have an election with the Rio Olympics right around the corner,” he said in the assembly after submitting his resignation. “My main concern was for the Games.”
Plummeting approval ratings and defections by political allies ultimately persuaded him, however.
The amounts that Mr. Masuzoe has been accused of spending improperly on himself and his family are hardly vast by the standards of modern politics-and-money scandals. There are reimbursements of a few hundred dollars here for restaurant meals, and a few thousand dollars there for hotel stays.
In a report issued this month, lawyers hired by the governor to review his spending found 4.4 million yen, or about $41,000, in expenses over several years that they called “inappropriate, but not illegal.” Mr. Masuzoe apologized and said that there had been “some mixing of public and personal” in his spending, but that he had not knowingly broken any rules. He has not been charged with wrongdoing.
Still, the relatively minor scale of his reported excesses did not help him.
If anything, the public’s antagonism appears to have deepened. The word that has perhaps been most frequently used to describe the episode is sekoi, meaning cheap or petty. That Mr. Masuzoe might nickel-and-dime taxpayers and contributors for spa trips seems to have struck a rawer nerve than if he had engaged in wholesale theft.
“I’m angry. This is sekoi — too sekoi,” Shigeru Kamibayashi, a member of the assembly from the right-leaning Liberal Democratic Party, where Mr. Masuzoe has spent most of his political career and which supported his bid for governor, said after the lawyers issued their report. The word has been ubiquitous in newspaper and social media references to the scandal.
まず、LDOCEで"reimburse"を調べてみると、"to pay money back to someone when their money has been spent or lost"とありました。