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Japan gov't U-turns, to accept liability in document-tampering scandal suit

Toshio Akagi, a then employee of the Kinki Local Finance Bureau, is seen in this photo provided by his family.

OSAKA -- The Japanese government submitted documents to the Osaka District Court on Dec. 15 accepting liability for damages in a lawsuit over the death of Finance Ministry employee Toshio Akagi, who took his own life over a document-tampering scandal concerning the cut-price sale of state land to nationalist school operator Moritomo Gakuen.

    Akagi's widow filed a lawsuit against the central government and Nobuhisa Sagawa, then head of the ministry's Financial Bureau, seeking damages in connection with her husband's death. According to a legal representative for the widow, the government took "cognovit" proceedings accepting liability for the full amount of damages claimed, and the trial concluded the same day.

    Consultations on the case had proceeded behind closed doors in the Osaka District Court on Dec. 15, and the central government informed Akagi's widow in writing it was prepared to accept compensation liability, the legal representative said. The government had previously indicated that it would fight the lawsuit.

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

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