Outgoing Tokyo governor leaves unfinished agenda

The future of Tokyo's many initiatives, which have been led by outgoing Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, is attracting attention in the wake of his surprise announcement that he would resign from the post.

They include the issue of Shinginko Tokyo bank, the once-planned purchase of the Senkaku Islands, and the relocation of Tsukiji wholesale market.

The measures are a reflection of the strong leadership of Ishihara, 80, and many question who will take over the issues and resolve their attendant problems.

Senior officials of the Tokyo metropolitan government will be paying close attention to the result of the Tokyo gubernatorial election scheduled for December.

The metropolitan government has collected donations from the public nationwide to purchase land in the Senkaku Islands.

The amount of the donations has been rising, even after the central government nationalized ownership of the islands in September.

As of Thursday, the amount was about \1.48 billion.

Ishihara has repeatedly said that "if a new administration led by the Liberal Democratic Party is launched, I'll ask the government to spend the money on improving the islands, for example by constructing vessel basins."

But, it has not yet been decided on exactly what the donations will be spent.

A metropolitan government official in charge of the affair showed embarrassment, saying, "Nothing has been decided as to who will get the money, how it will be used and for what purposes."

If the money is left untouched beyond the end of this fiscal year, it will have to be counted as revenue of the metropolitan government under accounting rules.

Thus the money will have to be frozen as a kind of fund, as the metropolitan government will not dare spend it.

Shinginko Tokyo bank, which was established under Ishihara's leadership to assist small and medium-sized companies, is under business rehabilitation.

Partly because of lax extension of loans, the bank's financial state deteriorated and the metropolitan government offered \140 billion in public funds to rehabilitate the bank.

If the metropolitan government withdraws from management of the bank and the financial aid is not paid back, Ishihara and the Tokyo metropolitan assembly, who backed the establishment of the bank, may be urged to take responsibility.

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