Scandal-Hit Mayor of Manazuru, Kanagawa Pref. Ousted in Referendum

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Kazuhiko Matsumoto

Yokohama (Jiji Press) — The mayor of Manazuru, Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo, was ousted in Sunday’s referendum over a scandal in which he allegedly made an illegal copy of the town’s voter list for use in his own election campaign.

Kazuhiko Matsumoto, 57, lost his mayoral post immediately, and the town will hold an election to choose his successor within 50 days.

In the referendum, 2,204 of the 3,582 valid votes were in favor of removing Matsumoto, while 1,378 were against. Voter turnout was 59.40 %.

At a press conference Sunday night, Matsumoto said he would not run in the upcoming mayoral election.

Matsumoto, a former official of the town, was first elected mayor in September 2020, but resigned in November 2021 after the scandal came to light.

He was re-elected in a subsequent mayoral poll, but the town then filed a criminal complaint against him for allegedly violating the public offices election law, while a number of town officials resigned.