11 July 2014

Sobbing Japanese politician tenders resignation

In this July 1, 2014 file photo, Hyogo Prefectural assemblyman Ryutaro Nonomura cries during a press conference in Kobe, western Japan. Nonomura, who was seen sobbing over dubious spending in a video that went viral, resigned Friday, July 11, 2014.
A Japanese politician who was seen sobbing over dubious spending in a video that went viral resigned Friday.
The local legislative assembly accepted the resignation of Ryutaro Nonomura, but also decided to pursue criminal charges against him.
Nonomura, 47, a Hyogo prefectural assemblyman, burst into tears and screamed nonsensical phrases when he was asked at a news conference last week about the number of trips he took to a hot springs at taxpayers' expense.
Calls for his resignation had grown. Nonomura visited the hot springs 106 times last year, using public money and reporting it as political activity.
The visits in themselves were not illegal, but he didn't explain at the news conference how the trips were related to his work.
The assembly is asking Hyogo police to look into possible charges of submitting false public documents against Nonomura, Kyodo News reported.
Nonomura had reported the hot springs and other trips, racking up some 3 million yen ($30,000) in annual travel expenses, but he had not produced any receipts, according to the assembly office.
One site for the video clip had drawn 2.7 million views as of Friday. His wailing spawned spoofs that juxtaposed his voice with rock music, and another with jazz piano, or played his tirade backward.