By Nick Butler

Naoki Inose announces his resignation this morning in a move which could negatively impact Tokyo 2020 ©AFP/Getty ImagesDecember 19 - Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose today resigned to "avoid stalling preparations" for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games" following his involvement in a corruption scandal.

Inose accepted, but did not report, a ¥50 million (£296,000/$485,000/€353,000) loan from the hospital group Tokushukai before his election last year.

As a member of public office, he is legally bound to report any funds accepted as campaign contributions.

He claimed the money had now been repaid and was borrowed as part of a "personal loan," rather than to help bankroll his election campaign, while he also offered to give up a year's salary as "penance" for his involvement.

But, following the wider emergence of an election-rigging scandal involving the chain and its founder's son Takeshi Tokuda, also a member of Japan's House of Representatives, pressure has forced Inose to announce his resignation.

Calls have grown for Inose to resign as more details of the scandal has emerged ©Asahi Shimbun/Getty ImagesCalls have grown for Naoki Inose to resign as more details of the scandal has emerged
©Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images

Inose was vigorously questioned by a specially formed Assembly Committee that included 18 members from both the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and opposition parties.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also insisted a decision, from either the Committee or Inose himself, be reached as soon as possible to prevent the scandal from tainting Tokyo's 2020 preparations.

Ensuring that these preparations remain unaffected was a key part Inose's justification for announcing his resignation when he explained his reasoning this morning.

"I made efforts to fulfill my responsibility to explain [the money in question] to the public at Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly meetings and press conferences, but I couldn't dispel their suspicion," he said.

"I shouldn't be delaying Government operations or stalling preparations for the Olympics and Paralympics any longer."

"I intended to fulfil my duty of explaining to the city assembly, people of Tokyo and people of the nation, but regrettably I could not clear doubts over me.

"It's solely because of my lack of virtue and the only solution is for me to step down as Governor."
Since being elected as Mayor last year Inose was seen as a key architect in Tokyo's successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics and his removal could be construed as an early blow as they begin preparations.

Inose had previously played a key role in Tokyo's bid to host the Olympics and Paralympics in 2020 ©Asahi Shimbun/Getty ImagesNaoki Inose had previously played a key role in Tokyo's bid to host the Olympics and Paralympics in 2020 ©Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images

Although he played a key role at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Buenos Aires in which Tokyo secured its victory, his 12 month tenure since he replaced equally controversial predecessor Shintaro Ishihara has not been short of scandal.

Before the latest incident provided a final death knell, Inose broke IOC rules in April by criticising Tokyo's rival bid from Istanbul during the 2020 campaign.

Although he called Inose a "fervent and enthusiastic supporter" of the Olympic bid, bid leader and Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda says Tokyo's 2020 Olympic preparations remain on course despite the resignation.

Takeda, who is also an IOC member, added: "Tokyo 2020's immediate focus remains firmly on finalising the establishment of the Organising Committee to ensure the successful delivery of the Games."