Japanese Banking Minister Tadahiro Matsushita was found hanged at his home on Monday in what police suspect was a suicide, Kyodo news agency said.
Kyodo, quoting unnamed police sources, that what appears to be a will had been found at his own home.
“I’m shocked to hear the sad news. He always gave me encouragement when things were tough,” Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said.
On Monday, Noda visited the hospital where Matsushita’s body was taken and told reporters he was “very surprised at the sad news.”
State broadcaster NHK said Matsushita was the first cabinet minister to die in office since the suicide in May 2007 of then agriculture minister Toshikatsu Matsuoka.
Takao Toshikawa, editor of political newsletter Insideline, said Matsushita’s death did not appear to be related to politics and was not likely to have any impact on Mr Noda’s government.
Matsushita was found hanged at his home in Tokyo’s Koto Ward at around 4:45 p.m. by his wife. He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Sources said the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department was looking into the possibility of suicide.
AFP (Emphasis Added):
Japan’s financial services minister died in an apparent suicide two days before a tabloid magazine was set to reveal claims the married 73-year-old was involved with another woman, reports said Tuesday.
Tadahiro Matsushita was found hanging at his Tokyo home on Monday, the Mainichi Shimbun and other media reported, adding letters addressed to his wife, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and cabinet members were also discovered.
A woman who answered the telephone at the tabloid magazine Shukan Shincho told AFP that its Wednesday edition would carry a story on a scandal involving Matsushita that was “related to a woman.” She declined to elaborate.
Press reports suggested the magazine would be publishing claims that Matsushita, who was also the state minister in charge of postal reform, was having an extra-marital affair.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department concluded that Matsushita committed suicide and has closed the investigation, according to a police spokesman. They received an emergency call at 4:59 p.m. yesterday after his wife found him unconscious at his home in Tokyo, the spokesman said, adding Matsushita left several notes.
Matsushita traveled to Fukushima prefecture, site of the nuclear crisis that followed last year’s earthquake and tsunami, when he was deputy minister for disaster reconstruction, [said in a telephone interview] said.
Here’s how NHK covered it:
Published: September 11th, 2012 at 5:51 am ET