Top Japan official found hanging — Had been deputy minister for disaster reconstruction, traveled to Fukushima — Death “did not appear” related to politics

Published: September 11th, 2012 at 5:51 am ET
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Reuters:

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.

CNN:

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.

Asahi:

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.

Bloomberg:

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
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13 comments

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13 comments to Top Japan official found hanging — Had been deputy minister for disaster reconstruction, traveled to Fukushima — Death “did not appear” related to politics

  • Urban27

    This is of course sad. But he had a hard job. If he was troubled because his job, it might be important to know what was his last message to the world..
    Rest in peace.


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    • true2U

      I don't have any facts except for my intuition and common sense and I agree with Urban27's words, that was insightful.
      Aftershock is spot on about the sway in focus to diminish what may be the obvious cause.
      We know in our psychy what happened and what is happening.


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  • AFTERSHOCK AFTERSHOCK

    notice the focus on infidelity; as though such action is grounds for murder or suicide. As we get towards the end of the article, we find this man being involved in the transfer of funds for reconstruction of tsunami damaged infrastructure. That a rich man made-out a will – months-to-years – before his 'suicide' is clearly evidence there's been no foul play. Move along folks…just move along…


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    • lam335 lam335

      The way the Japanese government has been handling Fukushima's aftermath–especially insofar as children are concerned–is far more shameful than any allegations of infidelity.

      (Incidentally, the word "aftermath" is not really the right word here since the Fukushima accident is clearly not yet "over"; I just couldn't think of a more appropriate one at the moment).


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      • lam335 lam335

        I guess the difference is that, in the case of Fuku, everyone can just point fingers at everyone else and take refuge in the fact of their collective incompetence and corruption, whereas in the case of an affair, only two are (usually) involved, so its easier to affix blame and shame.


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        • AFTERSHOCK AFTERSHOCK

          @lam335: reassuring to know that you (and doubtless others) get how they're skewing the issues. It's obvious the proponents of nuclear power technologies are at a total loss to address the more-immediate issue of Fukushima, itself. We're supposed to be concerned if this man was 'get'n some on the side', while children – throughout the world – are being condemned to an agonizing future…


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      • dharmasyd dharmasyd

        Amen lam335…
        >>>"The way the Japanese government has been handling..especially children… is far more shameful than any allegations of infidelity."<<<


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  • Sickputer

    "If human beings were shown what they're really like, they'd either kill one another as vermin, or hang themselves." – Aldous Huxley, Author of A Brave New World

    SP: My condolences to the family. Suicide of a loved one is very devastating to the survivors. I hope they find peace.


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    • AFTERSHOCK AFTERSHOCK

      @Sickputer: though I agree with your sentiments, considering this man's work and some of those who frequent the darker corners of his industry, skepticism might be in order…


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  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Reconstruction of Fukushima is impossible because of nuclear reactors.


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  • Suicide is another killer aspect of this mega-catastrophe. It's impacts should be considered in the death tolls.

    The psychological aspects and the WAVES of suicides will 'most likely' increase rapidly throughout Japan and the world as more food and water supplies become contaminated, as species begin to suffer and more people realize their illnesses and economic strife are all pretty much connected to this planet threatening debacle.

    The feeling of helplessness to stop the onslaught of contamination and disinformation may, at times, seem overwhelming.

    That's when it's time to step back, take a deep breath (from your filtered air) and relax. Have a sip ice water (that's been double filtered) and relax. Enjoy a bite your favorite seafood (that's been tested via scintillator) and ponder the fond thoughts of what should happen to those responsible for this.

    Some will adapt to the situation and others will not.


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  • enoughalready45 enoughalready45

    @ChasAha

    I agree. Many suicides will be the result of the poor handling of this triple disaster by the Japanese government. Unfortunatly there will never be an unbiased evaluation of the suicides.

    Also, I think some healthy skepticism about the nature of this person's suicide is in order but we will probably never really know for sure what happened.


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  • Mack Mack

    This is interesting —>

    1.) Wikipedia says Mr. Matsushita was the Senior Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry.

    2.) Japan is launching a new nuclear regulatory agency that —>

    "[...]will replace the current Nuclear and Industry Safety Agency supervised by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

    The new watchdog will be more independent from the government than the old agency, which has been widely criticized after the nuclear accident on March 2011."

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-09/11/c_131842897.htm


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