Ex-Tokyo governor questioned in cash scandal: Report

Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose bows during a news conference at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office in Tokyo on Dec 19, 2013. Japanese prosecutors have questioned the man who resigned as Tokyo governor in December over a money scandal, media report
Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose bows during a news conference at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office in Tokyo on Dec 19, 2013. Japanese prosecutors have questioned the man who resigned as Tokyo governor in December over a money scandal, media reported, as an election campaign to replace him kicked off on Thursday. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese prosecutors have questioned the man who resigned as Tokyo governor in December over a money scandal, media reported, as an election campaign to replace him kicked off on Thursday.

Tokyo prosecutors have begun questioning Mr Naoki Inose, on a voluntary basis, over an undeclared payment of US$500,000 (S$641,300) from a hospital tycoon, Jiji Press reported, quoting unnamed sources.

After weeks of pressure, Mr Inose, 67, admitted having accepted the cash, which critics implied amounted to a bribe and an attempt to influence policy.

Mr Inose, elected head of one of the world's biggest conurbations a year earlier with a record 4.34 million votes, had been one of the main faces of Tokyo's successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics.

The report came as candidates, including former prime minister Morihiro Hosokawa, started a 17-day campaign on Thursday for the chance to govern the metropolis of 13 million people.

Mr Hosokawa, who served in the nation's top job in 1993-4, officially announced his candidacy on Wednesday, backed by popular former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, with the two men both playing up their anti-atomic stance.

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