A Japanese Cabinet minister committed suicide yesterday, hours before he was due to be questioned over a series of political scandals, throwing the Government of Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister, into turmoil.
Toshikatsu Matsuoka, 62, the Minister for Agriculture, was found hanged from a door in his apartment, Japanese media reported. He had used a dog lead, and a suicide note was said to have been found.
He was taken to hospital but doctors were unable to resuscitate him. A police post-mortem examination confirmed that he died after he had hanged himself.
Mr Matsuoka had been due to appear before a parliamentary committee to explain allegations that he had claimed more than 28 million yen (£120,000) in utility expenses at his parliamentary office, despite all parliamentary office bills being paid for.