Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe submitted his resignation Wednesday over allegations of spending taxpayer money for personal purposes, local media reports said.
His resignation would reportedly come into effect from June 21. The 67-year-old governor has thus ended his weekslong bid to stay in power. He has been accused of spending political funds on family trips, artworks and reportedly, even on comic books for his children.
Japanese lawmakers are planning to introduce a no-confidence vote later Wednesday in which the governor is expected to lose.
Japan will be hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics and Masuzoe’s impact on the planning for the event is still unclear. According to reports, Masuzoe was to attend the Olympics opening ceremony in August at Rio de Janeiro, and would have accepted the Olympic flag during a handover at the closing ceremony.
Masuzoe, previously the health minister, is a member of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party. While he was in power, the governor successfully lobbied to move certain Olympic events to existing facilities outside the city instead of building new venues.
His predecessor, Naoki Inose, who played an important role in Japan’s bid for the 2020 Olympics, also stepped down over a funding scandal in 2013.
Masuzoe had faced relentless pressure from the media and the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly over his lavish spending on official overseas trips, online purchases of art and accommodation at high-end hotels and spas, some of which were paid for using taxpayer money.
Masuzoe has denied breaking any laws. He has, however, admitted ethical lapses and repeatedly apologized for the same.