The “sudden resignation” of Yutaka Imai, 64, a former Osaka prefectural assemblyman who served as vice-president of The Japan Innovation Party, is causing a widespread stir. When Shukan Shincho (September 2 issue) interviewed Mr. Imai about his alleged infidelity, he confessed to a reporter who questioned him about the facts about his “black money donation,” and finally confessed to cutting his own pipe.
Who could have foreseen such a “punchline” on the level of Yoshimoto Shingeki?
In response to the series of disturbances, some within the Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation) party have voiced their doubts, saying, “Why did he say such a thing at this time? Indeed, why did Mr. Imai start talking about the alleged “black money donation” on his own ……?
“It seems that when a reporter interviewed him, his wife was standing next to him. The truth of the matter is that I got upset and told her some things. For the party, resigning at this time before the general election is naturally painful. We tried to console him by saying, ‘You can come back when you have settled down,’ but he was adamant about it, and he resigned quickly without addressing the prefectural assembly.
Even The Japan Innovation Party, which did its best to comfort Mr. Imai, did not expect him to resign. This can be seen in the following story.
“As for the ‘black money donation,’ the initial view was that it would not be such a big deal since it was a long time ago and there was no record of it in the income and expenditure report. That’s why the party headquarters didn’t expect him to resign at all,” said a member of the Initiatives from Osaka.
In fact, even before Shukan Shincho reported Imai’s alleged infidelity, the matter had been a hot topic of conversation in some quarters. It all started when a suspicious document and a video of him entering and leaving a woman’s room were circulated in Kaizuka City, Imai’s hometown. A city councilor in Kaizuka City revealed.
A city councilor in Kaizuka said, “Suspicious documents against Mr. Imai have been circulating around his home and his supporters’ association. The content of the document is that he has been having an affair with a clerk for about 10 years. In addition, it also contained allegations about money. In addition, a video of Mr. Imai entering the woman’s apartment was also circulated. I was not particularly surprised, since he has always been a man of such stories, but some of the council members and people around the city hall were up in arms, asking, ‘Is everything okay with him being filmed to this extent? Are you okay?
This reporter checked the video again and found that Mr. Imai was recorded going to the woman’s apartment for three days in a row in mid-June. The fact that he had such a clear grasp of her behavioral patterns has led some in the party to suspect an internal leak.
Mr. Imai is a founding member of The Japan Innovation Party, together with Ichiro Matsui and other members, and has also served as secretary general and vice president. In the past, he also served as chairman of the Osaka Prefectural Assembly, and was sometimes called “the don of the assembly” or “the fixer in the shadows” by some. A member of the Osaka prefectural assembly who belongs to The Japan Innovation Party explains his influence.
“He was said to have the same influence in the party as Mr. Matsui, the head of The Japan Innovation Party. However, he is not the type of person who likes to step forward on his own, and is more likely to exert his power in the second position. After the rejection of the referendum on the concept of the metropolitan government last year, he handed over the post of secretary general, which is a position with personnel authority, to a younger member, Hideyuki Yokoyama.
Nevertheless, he still retained his influence on the selection of new candidates. He is a man who speaks his mind clearly and is not prone to backbiting. On the other hand, he was also very good at creating factions. He loved the members who came to his side, while blatantly changing his attitude toward those who did not. In the current prefectural assembly, there are many members who have been elevated to important positions by Mr. Imai.
In addition, there have been rumors for some time about his alleged vasectomy, which he “announced” himself. A member of The Japan Innovation Party said.
“Some of the younger members of the Diet were not afraid to ask, ‘Mr. Imai, do you really have a vasectomy? Some of the younger lawmakers were not afraid to ask. Some of the younger members of the Diet were not afraid to ask. It’s been a long time ago, though! But it was a long time ago!
What effect will the loss of the formal number two have on the Ishin no Kai? It seems that he is moving on to the next stage in his life.
“I was expecting him to be depressed, but he seemed surprisingly unaffected. He told everyone around him that he will be working hard at his management consulting company. He doesn’t want to get involved in politics anymore and said, “From now on, I want to look at politics from the outside world. Of course, it’s a big blow to our organization.
What about the prefectural assembly, where Mr. Imai was registered? What about the prefectural assembly, where Mr. Imai was a member? The Osaka prefectural assembly member mentioned above said, based on the assumption that the current system would not be affected.
“The prefectural assembly and The Japan Innovation Party were in the midst of a drastic rejuvenation under the administration of Governor Yoshimura. As a result, there is a sense of hope that Mr. Imai’s resignation will improve the atmosphere. Mr. Imai was a dynamic person with an old-fashioned temperament, but he was a person who put a lot of pressure on the members below him.
In particular, his forceful approach toward the New Komeito Party during last year’s referendum on the concept of a metropolitan government led many young assembly members to say that they could not follow him. Even some of the prefectural assembly members said, ‘He should at least make a final speech. This is just my personal opinion, but I don’t think it will have a big impact on the big picture. What I’m more worried about is that the public will think, ‘Oh, another scandal in The Japan Innovation Party. In any case, there is no doubt that the younger generation will have to take the lead in creating excitement.
In The Japan Innovation Party, which is undergoing a rapid generational change, the resignation of Mr. Imai seems to have divided opinion even within the party. With the departure of the heavyweights from the founding period of the party, more attention is likely to be paid to the leadership of the younger members, led by Governor Yoshimura.
Reporting and writing： Fumiaki Kurioka Photo： Kyodo News