Japan's crying lawmaker quits post

Japan's crying lawmaker quits post

TOKYO - A provincial Japanese politician, who was filmed crying like a toddler while trying to explain his profligate use of public funds, quit his post Friday as he was embroiled deeper in a corruption scandal.

Middle-aged assemblyman Ryutaro Nonomura became an Internet sensation last week when he was filmed wailing and banging his fists on a desk as tears stream down his face at a press conference.

The regional assembly in Hyogo, western Japan, accepted the 47-year-old's resignation on Friday, an official said.

"Political parties in the assembly filed a criminal complaint against the assembly member," said Eiji Kurita, from the assembly's secretariat.

Nonomura, who was elected to the assembly in 2011, is suspected of misusing three million yen ($30,000) of official allowances for political activities.

He allegedly spent the money in travel expenses on 195 trips in one year, including 106 visits to the same hot spring resort, but he failed to produce a receipt or a report on them.

The assembly has been swamped with about 4,000 complaints from residents who demanded Nonomura come clean about his expenditures and repay the money, according to media reports.

In trying to explain how he spent the money at a news conference on July 1 in Kobe, Hyogo's main city, the middle-aged lawmaker wailed uncontrollably and banged his fists on the table.

He shouted almost incoherent excuses in between gut-wrenching sobs, punctuated by the long intakes of breath necessary to power the next outburst.

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