Toshikatsu Matsuoka, Japan's Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, 62 years old, killed himself in Tokyo today. He was due to appear a few hours after the time of his death before a parliamentary committee for questioning, and opposition parties were calling for his resignation.
The scandal he was embroiled in was over 28m yen (USD236,600) that he claimed as water and electricity fees at his parliamentary office. However, parliamentary offices in Japan are not charged for utility costs.
He had been refusing to explain the situation to a parliamentary committee, and his innocence was being staunchly defended by Shinzo Abe, the prime minister.
He is the seventh Japanese member of parliament to commit suicide since 1945.
Click on the above movie posted on YouTube for news clips regarding the scandal as broadcast today on Japanese TV. Subtitled in English by JapanVisitor.
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Japan Tokyo Matsuoka politics scandal suicide
Monday, May 28, 2007