politics

Minister's suicide precedes magazine story on rumored affair

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He was appointed to... state minister in charge of supervising the postal privatization in June.

Ah, the postal privatization that has never actually occurred, despite all the grand announcements. He couldn't have been very busy. Not much to "supervise."

I wonder if his death had anything to do with the recent outcry by private companies over JP's underhanded plan to introduce new products?

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

I am very sorry about this, may he find peace with his ancestors.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

Views about the man aside, suicide is never pleasant. My thoughts are with is family.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

For the past 14 years, on the average day in Japan, about 100 people commit suicides. Mr. Matsushita reportely hanged himself. Another statistics. What is wrong with Japan? Japan is a real sick society.

-23 ( +12 / -34 )

Another Finance minister, Nakagawa I believe also committed suicide just a few years ago. It is a sign that Japan is in deep trouble.

0 ( +11 / -11 )

When so many adults commit suicide, it's very difficult to dissuade young people from doing the same.

24 ( +28 / -4 )

Guess he really knew that zero plus zero is zero?

0 ( +13 / -13 )

Thoughts to his family. What a mess. With all the anti-suicide campaigns a figure head offs himself. One could speculate/joke that perhaps knowing how bad Japan is off financially could be the one of the reasons he did this?

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

I agree with Yasukuni, as tragic as anyone's death is, people contemplating suicide, or at a tipping point are not going to be helped by high profile cases like this. The government should issue a statement expressing sorrow at his death, but also make it clear that these things can be avoided and people should seek any and all assistance.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

There's a story behind the story that we're obviously not privy to.

11 ( +18 / -7 )

caffeinebuzz Sep. 11, 2012 - 08:06AM JST but also make it clear that these things can be avoided and people should seek any and all assistance.

How? You make it sound so easy, but for the last 14 years, Japan averaged over 30,000 suicides a year, and no improvement is in sight. More people are aware of the problem but there is no solution. Actually, after the Fukushima disaster, the suicide rate jumped another ten percent.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

Japanese medias report that Shukan Bunshun is carrying a story about his scandal with a woman on Thursday.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

sfjp, it does sound easy but even a few words kind or otherwise can have a big impact on whether many people decide to go through with it or not. There need to be more services or hotlines where people can have someone to talk to, or even support groups where people can just see that they're not alone. Putting jingles on tv about how everyone should persevere are not going to do much; nor are those signs near that forest around Mt. Fuji that tell people to reconsider. There needs to be more community support provided, funded by the govt.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Wonder if he knew that yesterday was World Suicide Prevention Day...

11 ( +12 / -1 )

sfjp330Sep. 11, 2012 - 07:28AM JST Japan is a real sick society.

Japan isn't sick, but seriously troubled. That and too stubborn to realise this country is anything other than Utopia. Nothing will change until people realise that suicide is not an honourable way out.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I guess if you are so despondent and think that suicide is the ONLY answer to your pain and suffering, I really doubt that Matsushita san was worried about World Suicide Prevention Day, anyway RIP

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Seems shukan shincho was planning to run an article about his extramarital affairs. Sad news.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's not appropriate to comment on his motive as it might have nothing to do with his position . No one knows his emotional state or whether he had personal problems.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

More details, how did he die? Why do they believe it was a suicide?

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

I agree, we just don't know. It's well known he had serious health problems, which may have contributed. That isn't intended as speculation, btw, just saying the situation is more complex than some here seem to realise.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Obviously all the politicians feigning surprise & the media doing no digging as usual, I guess we will have to wait for the rags to spill the beans to get the ball rolling.

I hope he didnt off himself over some affair, although a guy that old in politics absolutely has lots of secrets & lots of "friends" to protect, may sound cold but its also likley true

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Actually, after the Fukushima disaster, the suicide rate jumped another ten percent.

sfjp, The number of suicides actually decreased by over 3% for two straight years and the number for 2011 was the lowest in 14 years. A quick search on JT or google will confirm that.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

My stepfather committed suicide. It still makes me sad & I feel sad for his family and friends because I know the pain they will be experiencing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why do they believe it was a suicide?

gogogo, I don't know how he did it, but I guess they didn't find any evidence of a cover up. Other news sources say that they found 3 suicide notes with him. One for his wife, one for the PM, and another for some other politician. He must have planned it for sometime to be that prepared.

Noda really needs to work on this suicide thing in Japan. 30,000 is like far worse than traffic accident deaths..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Reports are now coming in that one of the weekiles is featuring an expose of his 20 year-long affair with another woman. He left a note for his wife.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Gossip newspapers spreading stories about him being unfaithful or Japan's financial debt has more news we didn't hear yet...???

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ah I see he is setting a good 'outdated' example... Selfish man...

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

This is very tragic. :(

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Stressful job added to tabloid scandal into his private life with possible regrets about Nomura it's no wonder he had no place to turn. I hope it's a reminder to others the mess remains long after they are gone and many never remember the positive contributions. Better to go out on a high. RIP

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I guess they didn't have any of those AKB48 posters up in his office.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

At the risk of many dislikes, I have to ask, what secrets of shonky deals died with him?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Correction. It is not Shukan Bunshun but Shukan Shincho as was commented by alliswelljapan, I don't know the weekly magazine will change their schedule by his suicide.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

At that age and all the benefits he acrued, why not just retire? Some government officials stay on too long. There are many other older people in Japan with less to look forward to and live in poverty who do not do themselves in. Still I'm sorry he took his own life.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I love all the heartfelt sympathy, but let's be real a lot of suicides in Japan are due to the fact that the government doesn't know what to do about the financial crisis...they're basically a bunch of old conservative men, who never really care about change as long as they can keep the status quot. Their priorities only lay in their own back yard which explains the constant power struggle within the Japanese government. Their financial benefits make it that they never ever retire....maybe this the only way they will retire...next up: Mr. Ozawa.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

a politicians suicide? omg ... if one here makes a mistake that's irrepairable they just 'disappear' for a few years out of the spotlight , then come back as if nothing happens. It's a very sad way to take responsibility though if that's what it was, leaving everyone behind like that who cares for you still is not very responsible

1 ( +1 / -0 )

All opinions echo in waves for a moment’s time unless referenced at a later date and found to fit a particular future moments vice. Also, yes, it is always sad to see a Captain scuttle his ship early. Hopefully, the log books held behind closed doors will reveal thoroughly why. Fair winds and following seas Captain our Captains. Goodbye friend…for the moment…

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Very sad. I am not sure what is the article coming out, but presumably it's true... As regrettable as his suicide is, there should be more scrutiny of politicians. The allegations of Ozawa skiving off to Kyoto after the earthquake which came out in one of the tabloids have never been followed up by the "serious press". The cozy cozy relationship between media and politicians mean a lot of dodgy deals and behaviour happens with zero scrutiny.

Political accountability is very low.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

JT have updated the story so my previous comment is no longer valid

0 ( +1 / -1 )

cause of affair? probably could have gotten him more publicity, I guess he couldnt deal with the guilt / shame

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The correct path would be not to publish the magazine story, nor the news that it contained, but I suppose that cow has left the barn.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Cechanju, why should be your private life "political accountability"? Who is he/she having sex with is his/her problem and the partner's concern, as long as "sex" is not funded from public money or includes illegal things. I don't care if a politician is having extramarital sex, orgies, SM or whatever, as long as he/she does the job right. I would make illegal for these gossip rags to publish details of private life without the consent of the parties involved. Except, of course, illegal things that should be referred to prosecutors.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

gogogo, please re-read the article. He was found hanging in his home and left notes to his wife, PM Noda, and other cabinet ministers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Freedom of the press is a GOOD THING, Japan shud report whats going on more often instead of the USUAL censorship that prevails!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The article has been updated since this morning.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the married 73-year-old was involved with another woman,

Old saying in American politics, that the surest way to end an political career is to be caught in bed with a dead woman or a live boy.

But whatever the case, taking one's life will not solve the problem. Now all he will be remembered for is taking his life because of an affair. If had not taken his life, he still would be stigmatized, but over time it will subside. Just look at Bill Clinton as an example.

I am sure that he is not the first J-politican who has been caught with an affair. Was he one of those politicans who liked to take the "moral high ground" or do they have those types of politicans in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"I did not have sexual relations with that woman!"

C'mon man, no broad is worth that!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How was he able to have an affair at that age??

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Who is he/she having sex with is his/her problem and the partner's concern, as long as "sex" is not funded from public money or includes illegal things.

His salary is paid for from public money. I also don't doubt he stayed in hotels paid by us with her. I normally don't care what folks do in their bedrooms but with the way Japan is going now, if a wife can't trust her husband, why should the public?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

tmarie, I'm also paid by public money. Same with other tens of thousands of professors, policemen, firemen, office ward personnel and other public servants. Does that give you the right to peep into my private life?

"I also don't doubt he stayed in hotels paid by us with her."

This is a serious accusation, do you have any proof for that? If not that's just illegal slander. Even worse, about a dead person who can't defend himself.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Not being able to face the music has got to be one of the worst qualities a politician can have.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Kapuna: as the mod pointed out the story was updated after my first comment, I wish JT didn't do that so often or at least write "comment was posted on previous edit of the story" or something just makes for confusion and a thumbs down festiva

2 ( +2 / -0 )

extra-marital affair is not that bad. depending on the situation or the character of the concubine. Some concubines are gold-diggers and social-climber. Some will demand a descent living in a penthouse.

I can't still get it why someone have to take his/her own life on fear that the affair will be revealed.

Maybe there are other reasons.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Freedom of the press is a GOOD THING

Yes, it is, but it used to be that media showed some restraint about publishing news that is mostly just embarrassing to the family, especially in the case of a suicide. Freedom of the press means you have the right to tell the story. It doesn't require all stories to be told.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Cechanju, why should be your private life "political accountability"? Who is he/she having sex with is his/her problem and the partner's concern, as long as "sex" is not funded from public money or includes illegal things. I don't care if a politician is having extramarital sex, orgies, SM or whatever, as long as he/she does the job right. I would make illegal for these gossip rags to publish details of private life without the consent of the parties involved. Except, of course, illegal things that should be referred to prosecutors.

@timeon - I couldn't agree with you more. I am sick and tired of gossip pseudo-journalism magazines trying to dig up dirt on people and more often than not, it's the cheapshot 'let's expose their sexual life' routine. Just like the recent article on JT which mentioned that sex does not affect an athlete's performance either in positive or negative ways, I doubt whether it would affect a person's job either - unless it was causing them stress thanks to teh gossipmongerers of this world who spread their idiot wind.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Shukan Shincho told AFP that its Wednesday edition would carry a story on a scandal involving Matsushita

They mean the rag will still publish the story ? You don't go lower.

His salary is paid for from public money.

Thus he has no rights to a private life with tattoos and cut little finger ? Wait, that's the deal for Osaka-land only, we have not annexed Tokyo yet.

if a wife can't trust her husband,

Who said that was not the case (so far) ? They may be one of those typical politician couples that got an arranged marriage decades ago, got kids and then became "business partners" like the Kennedys, the Reagans, the Bushes, the Clintons, the Obamas, the Romneys, the kings of Spain, the Chiracs, the Mitterrand... Good luck to find real couples among them. The deal is she works at getting him reelected in inaka. And the guy, his job is to stay elected, do the job and send a salary to her. She has surely been 100% satisfied. But now, she is highly bothered by the scandalisation of his shitagi stories.

why should the public?

The public should pay attention to the guy's job precisely. I have no trust of anyone in charge of Japanese finance, they have told us BS after BS, and only made things worse since I've been here. That's why they hold that circus with their pseudo-marriages. Pan et circus. As long as electors check the candidates' bourgeoise and the sprogs, if they look clean and all, if they look trustable, they don't ask about the program and what was done during the politician working hours...

How was he able to have an affair at that age??

Sumitomo-Visa, American-Express... Or you mean viagra, rhinoceros horn powder, turttle blood... There's a will, there's a way.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

tmarie, I'm also paid by public money. Same with other tens of thousands of professors, policemen, firemen, office ward personnel and other public servants. Does that give you the right to peep into my private life?

I think being a difference between you and other very public members of the public sector. Indeed, I made a suggestion about this guy having this women stay in his hotel room during business affairs. How do you think these people meet up? And I thought it was pretty well known that there are a few rooms in Tokyo for government officials to do such things - there have been articles about it in the past. I do believe JT carried one a while ago.

Keep what you do hidden and in private. This guy failed to do that.

Zen, if one is being paid to represent the country and is found to be cheating - and using taxpayers money to do so - isn't it our business? If he wants to cheat, fine. Just do it out of the eyes of the public. It appears this guy didn't which is why he got busted.

If the guy wasn't ashamed to be doing this, why the suicide? Many spouses here have "agreements" about such things. It seems this guy and his wife may not have. Why should the public trust someone like this with our money?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Say what you will, suicide is the coward's way out. I can't see it any other way. Some old farts (and youngins, no doubt) might think there is some honor too it, confused by "samurai ideals". BS.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Rest in Peace!

May there be no suicides in the world for just one day! And perhaps tomorrow we can have another suicide free day!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@timeon

tmarie, I'm also paid by public money. Same with other tens of thousands of professors, policemen, firemen, office >ward personnel and other public servants. Does that give you the right to peep into my private life?

If you are a gaijin, you are not in a position to make rules, laws or otherwise to dictate how us mere mortals run our lives. Personally I don't care who does the horizontal tango with anyone they choose. However, when it comes to lawmakers, politicians and the like, they should be elected based on their honesty (impossible dream I know).

I'm not a 'merkan, but I would have been much happier if Clinton (Mr) had stood up and said, 'Yep, she smoked me, so what?". Dishonest people hide things, dishonest people shouldn't be in the position to TELL ME WHAT TO DO. Here endeth the lesson :-)

3 ( +3 / -0 )

One of the reasons a man of that generation would probably commit suicide is that if he didn't the opposition would be attacking Noda and his party over it until he was fired, and use it to bash them with until the election. By committing suicide not much will be made of it. In Japanese culture a man's sins usually get buried with him so he probably felt he was doing the the right thing by his party.

Initially, I felt sorry for him, but given that he carried on an affair for 20 years (so it's alleged), that's about from the time he entered politics. So there's a woman out there too who was either cheating on her husband with this man, or she was single and maybe because of him never got married and had kids. Plus it must also be hard for his wife to realize that there was time when he could have been home and doing things for her or extended family instead of being with and spending money on another woman.

Also, you might argue that with all the problems people there are in japan, maybe the politicians could be spending more time on the job and less time wining and dining etc etc with other women.

Some people when they are caught start to feel remorse and realize what they've done. Maybe it's not just shame by his way of penance. He took responsibility in the ultimate way.

I feel sorry for his wife and family.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So first he quits the party because he is against postal privatization and later is appointed as Minister in charge of postal privatization?! Just tells you how screwed up this government is. On the other side, having an affair is one thing, but keeping it going for 20 years, as one commentator mentioned above, changes the story quite a bit. He should have ended it when he got his lower house seat at least.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Purely personal matters are tricky.

Politicians are absolutely entitled to a private life. In principle I agree with the fact that affairs etc do not affect a person's ability to be a good politician.

Where there is scope for blackmail on account of their activities, it is problematic because it potentially flows into their political life as well. More significantly is where the line between personal and private ceases to exist , as in the case of Ozawa I mentioned previously. If he did flee to Kansai after the earthquake for several weeks, that is very definitely a public matter that his electorate (in tsunami stricken Iwate) is entitled to information about.

There isn't proper scrutiny of the links that influence and compromise decision making by politicians.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'm not a 'merkan, but I would have been much happier if Clinton (Mr) had stood up and said, 'Yep, she smoked me, so what?".

He would have avoided prosecution, too, since the hard charges mostly involved supborning perjury, i.e., getting his secretary to lie in an official deposition.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And I thought it was pretty well known that there are a few rooms in Tokyo for government officials to do such things

They even sleep. So they have rooms, or more likely serviced apartments, paid for them to stay in Tokyo. Probably all the MPs of any country have some. I recommend you to become a senateur in France, as that's very cosy and the cafetaria's food is great. That costs the same in tax if his bed is used for one, two, three, if he carries passengers in his function car, etc... So unless you get some information of him getting special perks on tax money, it's blah blah.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

How was he able to have an affair at that age??

Who said anything about an affair? This is Japan! Did the thought not cross your mind that he has had a hostess on pay role for quite some time? Or possibly even several.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

He is 73, wife probably 73. Mistress..? hmmm 43? Wife weeps, Mistress? hmm, at long last , freedom to date younger men...lol

1 ( +1 / -0 )

without the tabloid story he'd still be alive, maybe. in a way, there's no difference between a bully at school that drives a poor kid to suicide, and a bully tabloid that exposes your private life and drives you to the same ending.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

if a wife can't trust her husband, why should the public?

A comment stuckj in a time-warp: 1912, not 2012. This old line is trotted by the tabloid press to justify their intrustion into private lives to justify their kiss and tell stories. There has never been evidence to suggest that those who have affairs are in anyway unfit for public office.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

When so many adults commit suicide, it's very difficult to dissuade young people from doing the same.

You're probably not wrong yasukuni, but at the same time, these repetitive suicides of adults, in modern times, should also alert young people, however, it is clear that there is no electro shock effect with young people (u_u)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

On the other hand suicide in Japan is a cultural thing, we know that Japan has a long history of it. It is just something you cannot compare with Western culture. Honorable suicide, ritual suicide is something that is deeply rooted in japanese culture and you can not remove or change it just like that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What does she look like ? Please let's see her photograph Damage done already

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Cos, as much as you think you know everything... There have been stories about government paid places where guys can take their mistresses. High security, no one questions anything. It isn't about getting a good night's sleep.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Ah-so, it isn't just the media who thinks this way. I think a politicians life is very much a matter of public scrutiny when they're voted in or playing a role in taxpayers money. Say have an affair with a display hostess while taking father of the year awards? Not a fan. 20 years is a long time to be screwing around on your wife and covering it up. He took the cowards way out instead of manning up and facing the wrath. Now his family gets to suffer because of it.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

whatever happened to the old man, suicide needs both the courage and despair. courage to commit it and despair to decide to commit it. I have this cousin in Japan. he has been there for 20 years. Japan has its very pleasant and friendly culture that u feel free to ask anyone about anything. committing suicide is based on their culture. i don't say it's good to commit suicide, I guess Japanese rethink about the final way of solving unsolvable problems!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

At 73 years old, there isn't many more years to live with a life expectancy for men being 80 in Japan. As well, an affair at that age? Most likely it was a loveless relationship in more ways than one.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Proverbs 17:09 "The one covering over a matter transgression is seeking love, and he that keeps talking about a matter is separating those familiar with one another". The unjust profits of these tabloids will come to haunt them back in due time. I always say, if your faith and convictions are strong, (no matter what you believe in), and you have a strong character, you will overcome any difficulties. If that was me, I would have let the tabloids, TV, radio, loudspeaker, citizens righteous groups, and all political parties enjoy their libel. Because "to silly talk, deaf ears". The story repeats itself again just like the economy minister who was apparently drunk in Italy during the G-7 meetings. RIP minister.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Poor man. What a dreadful way to go. R.I.P.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have this cousin in Japan. he has been there for 20 years. Japan has its very pleasant and friendly culture that u feel free to ask anyone about anything. committing suicide is based on their culture.

Oh dear, someone who doesn't live in Japan who is trying to tell those of us who live here and are married to the locals about the culture... You don't feel free to ask anyone anything because they often don't talk about their feelings, thoughts, problems... While committing suicide is based their belief that it isn't horrible like say Christians, Muslims, Jewish folks... this notion is changing. Though certainly not quick enough.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Dying is easy, living is hard.....Kuniko Mukoda. To see the great name Matsushita besmirched in a suicide is a double tragedy.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

A 73 year old committing suicide because of a forthcoming magazine story on a rumored affair? Sounds dubious at best.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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