On February 22, Governor of Fukuoka Prefecture Hiroshi Ogawa submitted his resignation letter to the chairperson of the Prefectural Assembly during his term for the reason that he would need a treatment of his lung adenocarcinoma for a long period of time. He had repeatedly been hospitalized for the past year and since he could not expect his disease to be cured easily, he probably judged himself incapable of fulfilling the responsibility as the prefectural governor to cope with the coronavirus infections. I feel sorry for him, but probably there was no other choice.
I have had a close relationship with him for many years. In the former Ministry of International Trade and Industry, I was senior to him by four years, and since both of us were from Fukuoka Prefecture and were graduates of Prefectural Shuyukan High School, we were closely tied to each other. After I became a member of the House of Representatives in 1990, I kept close contact with him. He also served as Cabinet Public Relations Secretary. I was glad when he was elected as the Governor of Fukuoka Prefecture for the first time in 2011.
However, when the election of the Governor of Fukuoka Prefecture was held on April 7, 2019, I had difficulty in deciding as to whether I should support Mr. Ogawa or not. It was because the support of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) for the two candidates, Mr. Ogawa and Mr. Kazuhisa Takeuchi, split into two groups as a result of complicated circumstances. My true feelings and my public stance collided, which often happens in real politics. I supported the latter candidate with my profound apology to Mr. Ogawa. As a result, Mr. Ogawa won an overwhelming victory in the election and served for the third term in office. Thanks to his generosity, our friendship returned and until recently, we contacted each other on the mobile phone.
Mr. Ogawa will officially resign on March 24. The campaign period for the new candidates will start on March 25, and the vote will take place on April 11. The LDP will prepare thoroughly for the coming election. I wish he will recover from his illness as soon as possible and work for the prefecture from his new standpoint.