Mayor in Western Japan Offers to Resign over Sauna Row

Politics

Ikeda, Osaka Pref., April 26 (Jiji Press)--The mayor of the western Japan city of Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture, on Monday offered to reign amid controversy over home sauna equipment that he installed in the city government office.

"I apologize from the bottom of my heart for annoying the public and bringing city administration to a standstill," the mayor, Hiroki Tomita, 44, told a press conference.

"I will resign as city mayor to take responsibility," Tomita said. He did not specify when he will step down, but indicated that his departure will happen after progress on coronavirus vaccinations for elderly people in the city.

In 2019, Tomita was elected to the mayoral office for the first time, with the endorsement of Osaka Ishin no Kai, a regional party based in Osaka. After the sauna scandal came to light, he left the party in November 2020.

A panel set up by the city's assembly to investigate the sauna issue found that the mayor had brought personal items to the city office and recognized power harassment by the mayor against city workers.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press