Japan minister commits suicide

Media reports had linked farming minister to series of funding scandals.

    The coffin of Toshikatsu Matsuoka is carried into a funeral hall by officials in Tokyo [Reuters]

    The death comes less than months before an election for parliament's upper house, a key test for Abe's leadership.

     

    Matsuoka, 62, was found unconscious in his room at a residential complex for legislators near parliament in the centre of the Japanese capital.

     

    He was then taken to hospital where he was confirmed dead, Japan's chief cabinet secretary told reporters.

     

    Scandals

     

    Media reports have linked Matsuoka to a number of political fund scandals, including a case in which he had declared substantial office expenditures when his office was in fact rent-free.

     

    Last week, media said the minister had received political donations from businessmen involved in a bid-rigging scandal.

     

    Matsuoka has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

     

    Support for Abe's cabinet has plunged to 32 per cent, down 11 percentage points from a similar poll in April, according to a weekend survey by the national Mainichi Shimbun newspaper.

     

    A separate poll by the Nikkei business daily showed Abe's popularity falling to 41 per cent, down 12 percentage points from the previous month.

     

    Both polls cited dissatisfaction with the government's apparent loss of pension payment records for millions of people.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.