Takaaki Yamazaki, 79, mayor of Koto Ward, Tokyo, reportedly gave up his candidacy for mayor of the ward on March 27, citing his health as the reason. He is believed to be retiring from politics.
Yamazaki is a veteran of four consecutive terms as mayor of Koto Ward. He is also the chairman of the Tokyo 23 Wards Mayors’ Association, and together with his son Kazuteru, a Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly member, he holds tremendous power in Koto Ward and is known as the “Don of Mayors.
He has also announced his candidacy for the ward mayor election to be held in April and was considered a strong candidate, but he has announced his retirement through his son Kazuki, However, behind this retirement, there is a suspicion that this magazine pursued.
In an article published on March 10, “FRIDAY Digital” reported in detail on the “alleged preferential use” of Yamazaki’s golf course. The article is reproduced below (age, title, etc. as they were at the time).
It is said that (Wakasu Golf Links) is the most difficult golf course in Japan to get a reservation. It is said that the users have a hard time getting a reservation, just like getting a premier ticket for a concert, but the mayor of Yamazaki Ward and some politicians are giving priority to the use of the course. I wonder if there is some kind of hush money being used.”
At the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s Special Budget Committee meeting held on March 7, an unprecedented question was posed.
The question was posed by Ms. Naomi Izumi, 61, a member of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly of the Communist Party, and referred to Mr. Takaaki Yamazaki, 79, the mayor of Koto Ward, as “Mr. Yamazaki. Izumi avoided using the actual name of the mayor’s son, Kazuteru Yamazaki (51), whom Izumi referred to as “some politician.
Originally, it was known to those in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly that Yamazaki and his son had preferential access to the golf course through their connection with the management company of the popular “Wakasu Golf Links” golf course. Mr. Izumi pursued this issue in public.
Wakasu Golf Links” is a course supervised by women’s golf legend Ayako Okamoto, and is extremely popular among Tokyo residents because of its location and inexpensive rates. The course is owned by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, which has entrusted its management and operation to Tokyo Port Terminal Corporation, an affiliated organization of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. Reservations are opened one month prior to the desired date of play, but immediately after the opening of reservations, access to the site is flooded and it is extremely difficult to complete the reservation process. Online reservations were introduced in 2008, but until then, reservations were made only by phone, and the course was known as “the golf course that could not be connected even after 100 phone calls.
In response to Mr. Izumi, the director of the Port and Harbor Bureau, Toshiki Yaoka, said, “I am aware of the fact that you have pointed out,
I am not aware of the fact that you have pointed out.
Mr. Yaoka replied, “I am not aware of the facts you have pointed out. Mr. Yaoka responded, “I am not aware of the fact that you have pointed out,
The deputy governor also made the same comment, saying, “I am not aware of what you have pointed out, but I have heard that it is difficult to make reservations, and we will work to improve the situation.
The vice-governor did not confirm the allegations.
Mr. Yamazaki has been the mayor of Koto Ward for four consecutive terms and is also the president of the Tokyo 23 wards’ mayors’ association, so to speak, the “Don of Mayors. On the other hand, his son Kazuteru, who has also served as secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, may be trying to follow in his father’s footsteps as mayor of Koto Ward. Because of this father-son relationship, they are believed to have a very strong political influence on port-related matters in Koto Ward,” said a Koto Ward Council member.
The mayor of Yamazaki Ward was publicly questioned about the “allegation of priority use of the Wakasu Golf Links.
Amidst the questioning in the assembly, FRIDAY Digital obtained a document that appears to have been prepared by a person related to the Port Authority. The document, titled “Wakasu Golf Links Usage Records,” with a note in the upper right corner that reads “Handle with Caution,” describes the usage records of Yamazaki and his son.
In the document, the parents of Yamazaki and his son are listed as follows: “In the fiscal year of Reiwa 2020, Takaaki Yamazaki, the mayor, 15 times, and Kazuteru Yamazaki, the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly member, 10 times (25 times in total).
In Reiwa 2021, Takaaki Yamazaki, ward mayor 14 times, Kazuteru Yamazaki, Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly member 13 times (27 times in total).
In Reiwa 2022, Takaaki Yamazaki, Ward Mayor 0 times, Kazuteru Yamazaki, Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly member 15 times (total 15 times).
These are reservation counts, and there may be an error in the actual usage results. For those who have attempted to book the course even once, this would be an unbelievable number of times.
The following is a statement of future actions.
We will discontinue accepting reservations by phone and move to an environment where reservations cannot be made through human contact.
The person currently in charge of reservations will be transferred.
What emerges from this is that there is someone who is giving priority to Yamazaki and his son for reservations. This person is said to be Mr. S, who is currently the head of the management office at Wakasu Seaside Park, which is owned by Tokyo Port Terminal Co. A senior official of the Tokyo Metropolitan Federation of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), speaking on condition of anonymity, said, “Mr. S. was originally a Tokyo Metropolitan Government official.
Mr. S. was originally a Tokyo Metropolitan Government employee. He had a close relationship with Shigeru Uchida, the former secretary-general of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly who passed away last year, and after his retirement, he became the head of an organization related to golf links. Mr. S. is said to have considerable authority over reservations at the Wakasu Golf Links, and Yamazaki and his son are said to have made their reservations through him. His son, Kazuki, a member of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, always blurts out, “Tell me when you want to play golf at Wakasu Golf Links,” and often plays golf with a young city assemblyman in tow. The only reason why his father, Mr. Yamazaki, used the links zero times in the last fiscal year was because he was hospitalized due to a physical condition. Even while he was in the hospital, he was always blurting out, ‘I can’t wait to play golf.
Furthermore, there are suspicions that Mayor Yamazaki is using the Wakasu Golf Links for political activities. On April 11, two weeks before the next Koto Ward mayoral election, the Koto Ward Mayor is scheduled to hold a golf tournament at the Wakasu Golf Links called the “2nd Chairman Yamazaki Cup. The Federation is planning to hold a golf competition called the “2nd President Yamazaki Cup” at the Wakasu Golf Links on April 11, two weeks before the election of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Mayor. A Tokyo Metropolitan Federation official continued.
The fact that the golf tournament is being held for Koto Ward residents two weeks before the Koto Ward Mayor election is clearly an election campaign measure. Furthermore, how did they get reservations for 80 people at a golf course that is extremely difficult to book?
In order to ask about the allegations, FRIDAY Digital visited Kazuki Yamazaki, a Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly member, in the LDP waiting room of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government on the evening of March 7. When FRIDAY Digital requested an interview through a clerk, asking about the Wakasu Golf Links, Kazuki, who was chatting with a fellow councilor in front of the TV, took one look at the reporter’s business card and said, “I don’t have time. Then, through a clerk, he refused the interview, saying, “I don’t have time, so I can’t answer your questions. After that, he did not come out of the waiting room for more than three hours.
FRIDAY Digital also sent written questions to Tokyo Port Terminal Corporation, which manages and operates the Wakasu Golf Links, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office, and the Koto Ward Office regarding the “priority use” by the ward mayor and his son. Each responded in writing as follows.
We would like to refrain from giving an answer to the question about the use of the “Links” by individual users. (As for the “Yamazaki Chairman’s Cup,”) this is a tournament that is held on a day when the venue is closed, so we have allowed the use of this tournament.
We are not aware of the fact that you have pointed out” (Tokyo Metropolitan Government Public Relations Office)
We also sent a similar questionnaire to the Koto Ward Office, and received a response in the name of Ward Mayor Yamazaki, stating that this was not true.
For the sake of golfers who have been unable to make reservations, a detailed explanation should be provided regarding the allegations made at the special budget committee meeting.
Photo： Yuri Adachi (Mr. Kazuteru) Jiji Press (Mr. Takaaki)