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Saturday, May 28, 2005

Three key metro officials want out over flap linked to close Ishihara aide


Staff writer

Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara indicated Friday he would reshuffle his staff after three of his top officials tendered their resignations over a flap caused by one his closest aides.

News photo
Takeo Hamauzu

Vice Govs. Masamichi Fukunaga and Toshiro Otsuka have offered to step down along with Yokichi Yokoyama, head of the metro education office, according to City Hall.

According to Tokyo Metropolitan Government officials, the trio did so because they felt responsible for the atmosphere of discord brought about by the behavior of Vice Gov. Takeo Hamauzu, Ishihara's longtime aide and right-hand man.

Members of the metropolitan assembly have accused Hamauzu of monopolizing the workings of the metro government and effectively preventing information from reaching Ishihara, who is often away.

"I think each (of the three officials) is worried, harbors concern and feels responsibility" for the situation, Ishihara said at a regular news conference Friday. "But in the end, (personnel matters) are a matter that I will decide myself."

Ishihara said he will notify the assembly of his personnel decisions, including the officials in question, to the ordinary session Wednesday.

The metro government has four vice governors, and each has a different field of administration. But Hamauzu has been attending all the policy briefings by the bureau chiefs and controlling the policymaking process, metro officials said.

Fukunaga, Otsuka and Yokoyama said they felt partly responsible for Hamauzu's dictatorial style because they were the ones who allowed him to attend all of the briefings, they said.

The 57-year-old Hamauzu, who was Ishihara's secretary when the latter was a member of the House of Representatives, became a special secretary to the governor when Ishihara was first elected governor in April 1999. He became a vice governor in June 2000.

In addition to grumblings about his management style, members of the metro assembly have also accused him of perjury, alleging he made false remarks to the legislature in March that made it appear a vocational school for social welfare run by the metro government was being mismanaged.



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