Japanese cabinet member commits suicide

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Monday, May 28, 2007

NHK reported the death of Toshikatsu Matsuoka (62), the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan and a member of the Liberal Democratic Party. According to the Tokyo Metropolitan police and members of Matsuoku, including his secretary, he was found hanged in a room in his apartment in Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo at 0:18 local time, say the Japanese media, including Mainichi Shimbun.

Secretary General of the Cabinet Yasuhisa Shiozaki confirmed his death but did not make any other comment, Asahi Shimbun reports.

Matsuoka has been in litigation and criticized by opposition parties since March because of unclear descriptions of the annual financial reports of one of his supporting organizations, which all legislators and ministers are legally required to publish . Also in May, he was informed that he had accepted a donation from an organization controlled by the Japan Green Resources Agency, which is itself a non-profit organization and should report directly to the government. The improper financial management of JGRA was recently revealed and two of its top employees were arrested on May 24th. Mainichi said that after these arrests, some ruling party legislators, the LDP, said Matsuoka should resign from his ministerial post.

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