Recent reports have noted that MAFF Minister Toshikatsu Matsuoka, a powerful LDP figure recently embroiled in a political funds scandal, hanged himself at an official Lower House residence in the Akasaka area of Tokyo at around midnight May 28.
As of earlier today, MAFF officials had not confirmed the reports from wire services and were reportedly as shocked to hear the news as this blogger is.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police stated that Matsuoka was found by his personal secretary and a security guard in the living room of the apartment, where he was hanging from a dog leash tied to a metal fixture on a door. He was rushed to Keio University Hospital but died of his injuries.
From FT and Reuters:
”This will have serious political fallout, but at this point it’s hard to tell how much,” a government official told Reuters.
Matsuoka — under fire for a series of political funding scandals — was found unconscious in his room at a residential complex for lawmakers in Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki told reporters.
Media said Matsuoka had hanged himself in his room. Police later confirmed had died in hospital.
Local media had linked Matsuoka to at least two political fund scandals including one involving massive, dubious spending on his office near parliament.
Last week media also reported that he had received political donations from businessmen involved in a bid-rigging scandal.
Matsuoka had repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.