Japan police seek fraud charge against politician who cried like toddler

TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese police are seeking a fraud charge against a provincial assemblyman who became globally famous after crying like a toddler over his alleged misuse of public funds, a report said Monday.

Hyogo prefectural police in western Japan submitted papers to prosecutors on Ryutaro Nonomura, 48, alleging fraud, Jiji Press news agency said. It is now up to prosecutors to decide whether to indict him.

No immediate confirmation of the report was available.

Nonomura became an Internet sensation in July after he sobbed his way through a marathon press conference at which he was confronted about claims he had misused public funds.

Footage of the middle-aged, low-profile assemblyman went viral. It showed him crying uncontrollably and banging his fists on a desk as tears streamed down his face.

His incoherent explanations and complaints about how unfair the world was were punctuated by gasping sobs and the sharp intakes of breath required to power his next outburst.

The much-watched sob show happened as he was quizzed by journalists over allegations he had claimed thousands of dollars for fictional business trips.

Nonomura is suspected of misusing money on hundreds of visits to resorts and other venues for work-related events, but for which he could not produce receipts, local media have reported.

Looped footage of the three-hour press conference played on Japanese television for days after the July episode, which provided rich fodder for social media users and comedians alike.