Tokyo governor submits resignation over spending scandal: Official

Tokyo governor Yoichi Masuzoe holding a press conference on June 10.
Tokyo governor Yoichi Masuzoe holding a press conference on June 10.PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - Tokyo's governor submitted his resignation on Wednesday (June 15), an official said, after being criticised over lavish personal spending and faced with a no-confidence vote in the local assembly.

Mr Yoichi Masuzoe, 67, informed the speaker of the Tokyo legislature of his intention to quit, a spokesman for the Tokyo metropolitan government told AFP, ahead of a scheduled no-confidence motion vote by lawmakers later in the day.

"We've been told by the governor that the resignation is dated June 21," he said, requesting customary anonymity. An election for a new governor is expected as early as next month.

News of the resignation comes as Tokyo is set to host the 2020 Olympics, and while Mr Masuzoe's departure is unlikely to affect the city's ability to manage the event, his travails have proven a fresh embarrassment for the scandal-plagued Games.

Mr Masuzoe had faced relentless media and legislative grilling over hefty spending on official overseas trips, online purchases of art and accommodation at high-end hotels and spas, some of which was paid for using official funds.

Mr Masuzoe has denied breaking any laws but has admitted ethical lapses and repeatedly apologised in an ultimately futile effort to weather the storm.