Under-fire Japan mayor resigns after ordering arson

By Agence France-Presse

A Japanese mayor who came under fire after telling a subordinate to burn down a building in the way of a road construction project offered to resign on Friday.

(AFP PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) The mayor of Akashi city, opposite Kobe, was recorded ordering a building be burnt down to make way for a road expansion. (AFP PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Fusaho Izumi, from Akashi city near Kobe in western Japan, was recorded ranting at a senior city official who was struggling to evict tenants and the owner of the building as he sought to expand an existing road.

"Are you stupid?" he said in the tirade recorded in June 2017.

"Make them evict! You go and start a fire today and get arrested! Burn it! No joke! Go and destroy the building now!"

The recording was released to the local media this week. It immediately made national headlines and was replayed time and time again on television shows.

On Friday, Izumi told a nationally televised news conference his actions "must not be tolerated".

"After all the news reports, the city hall has received many calls. This is interrupting the city's operations. If the city hall cannot operate smoothly, it will cause trouble for local citizens," he said.

"It's clear that I lacked quality as a leader," he admitted.