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Home >> World
UPDATED: 15:10, May 28, 2007
Japanese farm minister dies after committing suicide
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Japanese Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Toshikatsu Matsuoka died on Monday after committing suicide by hanging himself in his living room at a parliamentary housing building in central Tokyo.

Matsuoka was found to have committed suicide at around 12:18 p. m. when his secretary went to the apartment to look for him since he did not appear at a regular meeting in the morning, local media reported.

He had already lost heartbeats when being found and died in a hospital at around at 2:00 p.m., Kyodo News said, quoting Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki.

The 62-year-old of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party has been in a quagmire of a series of political funds scandals, including acceptance of donations from companies suspected of rigging bid for public works projects.

Two of his campaign fund management bodies have allegedly received 13 million yen in donations from 14 Kumamoto-based contractors, who have been awarded construction projects by the Japan Green Resources Agency (J-Green), a government-controlled forestry management body suspected of having been involved in rigging bids.

The minister has allegedly received some 8.5 million yen in donations from contractors implicated in bid rigging for forestry road construction projects.

He was demanded by the opposition camp to resign.

Matsuoka became Lower House member in 1990. The term of farm minister was his first in the Cabinet.

Source: Xinhua

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