Governor Kawakatsu Expected to Resign, Eyes Leisurely Retirement with Book Income | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Governor Kawakatsu Expected to Resign, Eyes Leisurely Retirement with Book Income

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Heita Kawakatsu, Governor of Shizuoka Prefecture, is expected to submit his resignation on the 10th. Even if he quits, he is likely to become even busier and busier.

Heita Kawakatsu, Governor of Shizuoka Prefecture, is facing a headwind–.

On April 1st, Governor Kawakatsu, during an address to newly hired employees at the Shizuoka Prefectural Office, stated:

“The prefectural office functions as a think tank. Unlike jobs involving daily tasks like selling vegetables, caring for cows, or manufacturing goods, you are all individuals with high intelligence and intellect. Therefore, it is necessary to cultivate and refine those qualities.”

Following intense criticism of his remarks, on the following day, April 2nd, he abruptly announced his intention to resign during the regular session of the prefectural assembly scheduled for June.

Governor Kawakatsu, who has been in office since his first election in July 2009, announced his resignation in the middle of his fourth term. It is estimated that he has earned over 100 million yen solely in retirement benefits.

“The governor’s term is four years, and retirement benefits of approximately 40 million yen are paid out at the end of each term. Governor Kawakatsu did not receive these benefits during his first term, but he received them at the end of his second and third terms. Even though he still has nearly a year left until the end of his term, he is expected to receive tens of millions of yen in retirement benefits.”

The governor’s annual income is estimated to be well over 20 million yen. Roughly calculating, adding the retirement benefits totaling 100 million yen and the monthly salary and bonuses, 

“It would mean earning around 300 to 400 million yen during his tenure,” according to local media sources.

Speaking of Governor Kawakatsu, in 2021, he made a controversial statement saying, 

“There is nothing in Gotemba except for Koshihikari rice.”

Which led to a resolution urging his resignation. At that time, he announced to the press that he would forfeit one month’s salary and the year-end bonus, totaling approximately 4.4 million yen, as a penalty to himself. However, it later became clear that this forfeiture was not actually carried out.

“Even though he announced last July that he would return his salary again, under the media’s scrutiny, if he hadn’t been caught, he would have continued receiving it as usual. The governor’s relationship with the largest opposition party, the Liberal Democratic Party, which is also the largest faction in the prefectural assembly, had become increasingly confrontational. The governor had become increasingly paranoid.

Even with this latest verbal misstep, the Yomiuri Shimbun, which first reported it, claimed that they had ‘taken it out of context’ and refused to back down until the end. He became more aggressive in his speech compared to before and couldn’t see things objectively. There had been whispers within the administration for some time that ‘Governor Kawakatsu won’t last much longer’.” (National newspaper political reporter)

While his resignation may seem sudden, those around him who knew about Kawakatsu’s change may be saying, “It’s about time.”

On the other hand, life after resignation will be secure.

Although the governor usually resides in the governor’s official residence in Shizuoka City, his home is a villa in the resort town of Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture. It’s a luxurious mansion surrounded by magnificent nature on a plot of land covering 700 tsubo (about 2,300 square meters). After resigning, he will enjoy a leisurely retirement here, free from worries.

“Governor Kawakatsu’s resignation in June announcement immediately drew criticism, with many accusing him of simply aiming for the bonus. If he resigns after June, he will receive the full bonus of 3.2 million yen.

However, he seems to have changed his stance recently, and it’s been reported that he may submit his resignation letter as soon as the 10th. If he continues to tarnish his reputation any further, it could also affect his future employment prospects.” (Local media source)

There is already information that a certain publishing company is considering offering him to write a book on the clandestine struggle between JR and others in the Linear issue. Given his academic background, he likely has no qualms about becoming an author.

“There may also be requests for speaking engagements. Despite the verbal gaffes, Governor Kawakatsu has often drawn crowds and was quite popular during street speeches.

Once he steps down as governor, there may be fewer concerns about his remarks. With many enthusiastic supporters, there’s a possibility that his speaking fees could start in the unusual three digits.” (Wide Na show insider)

Even after resigning as governor, his influential voice is likely to continue attracting attention.

  • PHOTO Kyodo News

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