Rise and Fall of Tokyo Governor Masuzoe
Backstories

Rise and Fall of Tokyo Governor Masuzoe

    The embattled governor of Tokyo, Yoichi Masuzoe, has submitted a letter of resignation after just 2 years in office.

    He became mayor in the wake of a financial scandal, pledging to restore public trust. Now he'll leave embroiled in a scandal of his own.

    Former Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose announced his resignation towards the end of 2013. He stepped down after he admitted receiving $500,000 from a medical group without registering the money.

    Then, in came Yoichi Masuzoe. He was recommended by the ruling parties of the Tokyo assembly -- the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito.

    He was a noted scholar in international politics. In the political arena, he had experience; he served as health minister for years.

    The main issue in the election was how to win back public confidence after Inose's resignation.

    "The people's trust in the Tokyo government has been severely undermined by the scandal of the previous governor. I'll do my best to restore public trust," Masuzoe said at the time.

    Masuzoe's tasks included preparing for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

    The wind was taken out of his sails when a weekly magazine broke a story on him last month. Masuzoe was accused of spending public funds for private purposes.

    One of the costs in question was for staying at a resort hotel near Tokyo. Two years in a row, Masuzoe stayed at the hotel with his family during the New Year holidays.

    He was also accused of buying dozens of artworks with political funds.

    Members of the metropolitan assembly grilled the governor on the allegations, and demanded he vacate his post.

    Masuzoe apologized, acknowledging some of his spending was inappropriate. But there were many questions he refused to answer.

    "I want you to give me some time," he said. "I don't intend to stay on as governor forever."

    Masuzoe was scheduled to attend the closing ceremony of the Rio Games for a flag handover. Instead, he'll be watching someone else do it.