Shizuoka Governor Heita Kawakatsu Resigns Over Discriminatory Remark About Occupation | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Shizuoka Governor Heita Kawakatsu Resigns Over Discriminatory Remark About Occupation

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Governor Kawakatsu attended his first public function since his gaffe. He chatted with local residents and people involved in the event, and had a beaming expression on his face from start to finish.

Wearing a necklace of brightly colored flowers, he was light on his feet and seemed to be in a good mood.

On Saturday, April 6, bustling with the cherry blossom season, Governor Heita Kawakatsu (75) attended the “Hamana Lake Flower Expo 2024” held in Shizuoka Prefecture. Governor Kawakatsu’s remarks about occupational discrimination during the entrance ceremony at the Shizuoka Prefectural Office on April 1 caused controversy, leading to his submission of a resignation letter. It is anticipated that the gubernatorial election will be held as early as the end of May. Koichi Kobayashi, a former Shizuoka Shimbun reporter familiar with Shizuoka’s administration.

“Governor Kawakatsu is an intellectual scholar with a doctorate from Oxford University. However, his tendency to make inappropriate remarks stands out. In 2020, he made condescending remarks toward former Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, saying his level of culture has been exposed, and he has also referred to the LDP prefectural assembly as a group of yakuza, rogues. People who wanted him to resign are delighted that he himself has expressed his intention to do so. However, the linear issue will continue for some time. Despite Governor Kawakatsu’s intentions, since the administration has been advocating opposition to the linear, it cannot suddenly shift to promoting the linear. After about a year, they will likely seek a resolution while respecting the opinions of the residents.”

The battle for the successor is expected to be a mess. What will happen next?

“For the new governor, candidates from the eastern part include Goshi Hosono (52) of the Liberal Democratic Party, from the central part, former bureaucrat Shinichi Omura (60), and from the western part, Yasutomo Suzuki (66), who served as mayor of Hamamatsu City for four terms, are considered strong candidates. Hosono has the highest name recognition, but he is from the Nikai faction. It is unlikely that he will be endorsed by the LDP. On the other hand, Suzuki has the backing of ‘Don of the Shizuoka business world,’ Osamu Suzuki (94), a consultant for Suzuki Corporation, so naturally, if he takes action, it is likely to be advantageous.” (Same source)

Contrary to the cheerful smile of Governor Kawakatsu, reflecting the spring weather, the prefectural administration seems poised for confusion.

From the April 26, 2024 issue of “FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Yuri Adachi

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