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Wife of late Japan gov't employee involved in document tampering demands full truth

Masako Akagi, the wife of late government official Toshio Akagi, who took his own life after being forced to participate in tampering official documents, is seen in Osaka's Kita Ward, on May 6, 2021, while holding papers in which the government admitted to the existence of the tell-all "Akagi file." (Mainichi/Ryoichi Mochizuki)

OSAKA -- The wife of a deceased government official has hailed as a "step forward" the Japanese government's decision to admit for the first time to the existence of and to disclose documents detailing events surrounding record doctoring for a dubious state-land sale.

    But despite her feelings of relief, she is still demanding the full disclosure of the documents her husband supposedly created before taking his own life.

    "I'm relieved to know that what my husband left behind, while suffering until the end, is still there," said Masako Akagi, 50, as she spoke to the media on the evening of May 6, after the government submitted a written response to her regarding her late husband's documents.

    The documents, known as the "Akagi file," were created by Toshio Akagi, then an employee of the Ministry of Finance's Kinki Local Finance Bureau. He took his own life aged 54 after claiming he was forced to be involved in the tampering of ministry papers approving the heavily discounted sale of state property to nationalist school operator Moritomo Gakuen.

    Toshio apparently hinted at the file's existence to Masako shortly after the shady transaction surfaced in February 2017. According to her, he looked at her with a serious expression she had never seen from him before and said, "I've been forced to do something terrible. I saved everything (in the file) including (regarding) criminal activities."

    Tormented by his part in tampering official records, Toshio killed himself at home in March 2018. A note found after his death gave a suggestion of his conflicted feelings, reading, "I cannot explain the facts properly in a public setting."

    Based on conversations with her husband and testimony by his former boss, Masako became convinced the documents exist. To find out who told him what to do, how he resisted and what it was that troubled him, the broken-hearted Masako took the case to court and carried on her late husband's wish to "tell the truth in public." She demanded that the government disclose the documents.

    In a written response, the government revealed that the file contains emails exchanged between the Finance Ministry's Financial Bureau and the Kinki Local Finance Bureau, as well as documents marked as attachments.

    Papers admitting to the existence of the tell-all "Akagi file" are seen in Osaka's Kita Ward, on May 6, 2021. (Mainichi/Ryoichi Mochizuki)

    Masako said, "I want the government to consider my husband's feelings and disclose all concerned documents. I want them to never abandon him again."

    Her representative lawyer expressed hope the truth will come to light, saying, "We were surprised to learn that emails were saved. If these documents are disclosed, more detailed information on how the document tampering developed could emerge."

    (Japanese original by Shiho Matsumoto and Yumi Shibamura, Osaka City News Department)

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