Shizuoka gov. cites controversial remarks, maglev line issue for resignation

Shizuoka Prefecture's governor has explained the reasons for his intention to step down. He cited controversial remarks he made and an issue with the new high-speed train plan.

Governor Kawakatsu Heita delivered a speech to new prefectural employees on Monday. He said: "The prefectural government is a think tank, in other words. Unlike selling vegetables and taking care of cattle every day, you are basically highly knowledgeable."

The remark caused a stir, with some saying it could be taken as occupational discrimination.

The governor told a news conference on Tuesday that he plans to resign at the assembly session that will open in June.

At another conference on Wednesday. He said he takes seriously the fact that some of his words of encouragement for new officials had hurt people's feelings. He said he sincerely apologizes for the remark.

Kawakatsu said he had spoken inadequately, adding that this is one major reason for his resignation.

He also referred to the postponement of the opening of a magnetically levitated train line connecting Tokyo's Shinagawa and Nagoya. He has not approved the construction of the line in his prefecture.

The governor said the railway company had presented a fundamental revision to its plan late last month, so the issue is now out of his hands.

When asked whether he plans to run in the gubernatorial election, Kawakatsu said he is not considering it at all.