Politician apologizes for auctioning off masks
NHK -- Mar 10
A local politician in Japan has apologized for selling thousands of face masks via online auctions at a time when they are in short supply due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Hiroyuki Morota, a member of the Shizuoka prefectural assembly, offered the apology at a news conference on Monday.

Morota said he put boxes of 2,000 masks up for auction some 89 times from February 4 to March 6, and made a total of 8.9 million yen, or about 87,000 dollars.

He said the masks came from the inventory of a trading firm he runs. He also said he did not make an improper profit from the sale of masks, which he imported from China several years ago.

But he said he lacked consideration as a politician to put them up for auction during the coronavirus outbreak.

He said he intends to continue his career as an assembly member.

Morota told reporters that his wife will take over for him as the head of the trading firm. He said he will donate the money earned from the auction.

Morota used the Yahoo! JAPAN auction site. The firm says it will ban mask auctions starting on Saturday.

新型コロナウイルスを巡り、許し難い行動です。ネットオークションでマスクを高値で販売していた静岡県の県議が会見で謝罪。一方で、苦しい弁解も重ねました。  静岡県議会議員・諸田洋之氏(53):「心よりおわびを申し上げます」  まずは冒頭で深く頭を下げた諸田議員。諸田議員によりますと、自身が経営する貿易会社で在庫として保管していたマスクをネットオークションに出品。約1カ月間に89回の出品で合計888万円の売り上げがあったといいます。マスクの高額転売が問題視されているなかで、公職である議員による転売ですが・・・。  静岡県議会議員・諸田洋之氏:「まず『転売ではない』ということ。そして、2つ目は『暴利を得ていたわけではない』ということ。そして『県議会議員が』と言いますけど『会社でやっていた』ということ」  諸田議員の主張によりますと、倉庫にあったものなので「転売ではない」。送料や経費があり「大きな利益は出ていない」。議員としてではなく「会社で行っていた」とのこと。さらに、欠品があるマスクを県外の病院や看護学校に無償で配ったことも感謝状や写真とともに紹介。しかし、不安定な答えに会見は紛糾。諸田議員は社長は辞任するものの、議員は続けるとしています。
News sources: NHK, ANNnewsCH
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