Japanese cabinet member commits suicide

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Monday, May 28, 2007

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

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki confirmed his death but gave no further comment, Asahi Shimbun reports.

Matsuoka has been in disputes and criticized by the opposition parties since March due to unclear descriptions of annual financial reports of one of his support organizations, which all lawmakers and ministers are legally required to publish. Also in May it was exposed he accepted donation from an organization controlled by Japan Green Resources Agency, which itself is a non-profit organisation settled and which should report directly to the government. Inappropriate financial management of JGRA has been recently revealed and two of it's high positioned staff were arrested on May 24. Mainichi says after those arrests, some lawmakers in the ruling party LDP claimed Matsuoka should resign from the minister seat.