Tokyo police arrested a senior official of Japan’s Finance Ministry named Ono Heihachiro on Friday for allegedly “hitting and kicking” a fellow passenger while aboard a moving train, Japan’s Jiji Press reported, noting police sources claimed Ono was “heavily drunk” at the time of the alleged incident.
Officers of Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department detained Ono, 56, around 12:30 a.m. on May 20 (local time) for allegedly assaulting a passenger on a train traveling the “Tokyu Denentoshi Line connecting Shibuya Station in Tokyo and Chuo-Rinkan Station in neighboring Kanagawa Prefecture,” Kyodo News reported.
“Ono was captured around the train ticket gate at Sakura-shinmachi Station in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward by police officers who rushed to the scene following an emergency police call,” Jiji Press detailed.
“Ono seemed to be on his way home and was heavily drunk at that time,” the news agency reported, citing anonymous sources from Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department.
Jiji Press said its sources described the alleged victim as having suffered no injuries despite his claim of being physically assaulted by Ono, who denied any recollection of the incident on May 20.
Ono has worked for Japan’s Ministry of Finance since 1989, joining the federal institution shortly after graduating from the University of Tokyo’s Faculty of Law. The lifelong bureaucrat assumed his latest position as deputy vice minister for policy planning and coordination in July 2021. Ono has been appointed to key posts within the finance ministry, including director of the Budget Bureau, over his lengthy career.
“He assumed the deputy vice ministerial post in July last year, taking charge of policy coordination with the Bank of Japan. The post is regarded as a stepping-stone to vice minister, the ministry’s top bureaucratic post,” the news website Japan Today noted on Friday.
Japanese Finance Minister Suzuki Shunichi allegedly demoted Ono to an undisclosed role within the ministry’s Cabinet Secretariat on May 20 upon learning of his arrest for assault, according to the Tokyo-based Kyodo News Agency. While acknowledging that Japan’s finance ministry was still working to confirm details of the incident, Suzuki told reporters on Friday he found the allegations against Ono “extremely regrettable” before apologizing for the scandal. Suzuki made the remarks to reporters in Germany after attending a Group of Seven (G7) financial meeting on May 20.
“Tokyo police and Japan’s top government spokesman, Hirokazu Matsuno, declined to confirm the arrest, reported widely by local media,” Reuters observed on May 20.