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Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Controversial Tokyo vice governor to quit


Staff writer

The Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly on Tuesday endorsed the resignation of Vice Gov. Takeo Hamauzu, under fire from assembly members for controlling metropolitan government operations.

The assembly voted to approve replacing Gov. Shintaro Ishihara's closest aide and Masamichi Fukunaga, another vice governor. Hamauzu will resign July 22 and Fukunaga will step down June 22.

Yokichi Yokoyama, head of the metropolitan education office, and Yasuo Sekiya, chief of the Bureau of Industrial and Labor Affairs, were promoted to their positions.

Hamauzu is under fire for lying in connection with his allegations of mismanagement at a vocational school for social welfare run by the metropolitan government.

In March, an assembly member from the Democratic Party of Japan asked a question during an assembly session about the school's management, allegedly at Hamauzu's request.

Hamauzu answered the school was being mismanaged.

An investigation conducted afterward by an assembly research committee found no problem in the school's operation.

Hamauzu told the research committee that he did not ask the member to submit the question about the school.

But the committee concluded that he did arrange for the question and accused him of perjury. He was censured by the assembly Thursday for the perjury.

Members of the assembly have long criticized Hamauzu for controlling the operation of the metropolitan government and dictating what information reaches Ishihara, who is often away from his office.

The Japanese Communist Party proposed at an assembly committee meeting Monday that a motion to censure Ishihara be put forward in the assembly, saying he must have been personally involved in Hamauzu's fabrication about the school and that he allowed the vice governor to monopolize the government's workings.

The motion did not make it to the assembly's regular session Tuesday as the other parties, including the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito, opposed it.

There is speculation that assembly members hesitated to censure Ishihara, who is popular with voters, out of fear it would have a negative impact on their campaigns for the July metropolitan assembly election.



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The Japan Times

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