Japanese minister attempts suicide, dies at hospital

By Xinhua

Tokyo : Japanese Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Toshikatsu Matsuoka died Monday at a hospital after he tried to commit suicide by hanging himself in his living room at a parliamentary housing building in central Tokyo.

Support TwoCircles

Matsuoka was found to have hanged himself around 12.18 p.m. local time when his secretary went to the apartment to look for him since he did not appear at a regular meeting in the morning, Kyodo news agency reported.

He was brought to the hospital where doctors tried to revive his heart. He was declared dead at around at 2 p.m. local time, the agency reported quoting chief cabinet secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki.

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

Two of his campaign fund management bodies have allegedly received 13 million yen ($110,000) in donations from 14 Kumamoto-based contractors, who were 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 ($70,000) in donations from contractors implicated in bid rigging for forestry road construction projects.

Matsuoka became Lower House member in 1990 and the term of agriculture minister was his first in the cabinet.