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Japan gov't skips mention of doc tampering orders in report on Moritomo scandal suicide

Toshio Akagi is seen in this photo provided by his family.
The elementary school that Moritomo Gakuen had planned to set up on purchased state land is seen in Toyonaka, Osaka Prefecture, in this photo taken from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter on Feb. 18, 2018. (Mainichi)

OSAKA -- A government report disclosed to the widow of a local finance bureau official who took his own life in 2018 after being instructed to tamper with documents in a high-profile scandal made no mention of the fact he was forced to do so, while recognizing his death as an incident in the course of duty.

    Toshio Akagi, an official at the Kinki Local Finance Bureau in western Japan, took his own life at the age of 54 after being instructed to doctor documents relating to the heavily discounted sale of state land to Moritomo Gakuen, a nationalist school operator.

    The report presented to Akagi's wife attributed his suicide to overwork and the emotional burden associated with responses to the Diet, but didn't mention that he was forced to illicitly alter the sale documents.

    Akagi's wife revealed the government report on Dec. 8. The report stated that from February 2017, when the problem over the sale of the state land came to light, Akagi had responded to Diet requests for information, and was constantly working late into the night. It said that he developed depression after criminal complaints were filed against finance bureau workers. Akagi took sick leave and focused on recuperation, but he was later contacted by investigative authorities, and after the tampering of documents was reported, "he became hard-pressed mentally, and took his own life on sudden impulse," the report concluded.

    Meanwhile, in a lawsuit Akagi's wife has filed against the government and other parties seeking compensation, she is demanding that the government disclose the details of the instructions he was given, claiming that his condition developed from the pain of having been made to tamper with the documents, based on a note he left and other information.

    (Japanese original by Haruka Ito, Osaka City News Department)

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