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Niigata governor to decide in few days if he'll resign over alleged affair

Niigata Gov. Ryuichi Yoneyama (Mainichi)

NIIGATA -- Gov. Ryuichi Yoneyama told reporters on April 17 that it will take him a day or two to decide whether to resign in response to the planned release of a weekly magazine report on his affair with a woman later this week.

    "I haven't made up my mind yet. Please give me a day or two to sort things out," Yoneyama said during a hastily assembled press conference at the Niigata Prefectural Government office on the afternoon of April 17.

    As Yoneyama has been cautious about the reactivation of Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in the prefecture, his resignation would certainly impact discussions over the reactor restarts.

    According to supporters of the governor, Yoneyama held an emergency meeting with them and others on the evening of April 16 to discuss his response to the upcoming report by weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun. Many attendees shared the view that his resignation is inevitable.

    Yoneyama won the Niigata gubernatorial election in October 2016 as a candidate backed by the Japanese Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party and the Liberal Party. He advocated succeeding his predecessor and former Gov. Hirohiko Izumida in taking a cautious stand against bringing reactors back online at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, defeating rival candidates including one backed by the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito.

    (Japanese original by Yuma Hori, Mei Nammo and Aya Iguchi, Niigata Bureau)

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