Tokyo: Japan’s agricultural minister died on 28 May 2007, after reportedly hanging himself just hours before he was to face questioning in parliament over a political scandal, officials said.
Toshikatsu Matsuoka, 62, was found in his apartment today unconscious and rushed to a hospital, where he was declared dead hours later, a Tokyo Metropolitan Police official said.
Japan’s Agricultural Minister Toshikatsu Matsuoka, centre, is carried on a stretcher into a Tokyo hospital after been found in his apartment unconscious Monday, May 28, 2007 in this television grab
“We’ve just confirmed that he is dead,” said the spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of department policy.
Matsuoka had faced heavy criticism over a scandal involving suspicious book-keeping practices in his offices, and was scheduled to appear before a parliamentary committee this afternoon for further questioning.
Government officials confirmed Matsuoka was hospitalised today, but chief cabinet secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki refused to confirm widespread reports the minister hanged himself from a door in his apartment.
The reports of suicide were a blow to the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which has been buffeted by scandal and has seen a recent plunge in support ratings.