Posts Tagged ‘Japanese Finance Minister’

Disgraced Former Japanese Finance Minister Found Dead

Disgraced Former Japanese Finance Minister Found Dead

drunk finance minister, Shoichi NakagawaCourtesy of Joe Weisenthal at Clusterstock

Remember Shoichi Nakagawa? He was the Japanese finance minister who resigned in disgrace early this year after a rambling, presumably drunk, press conference.

Today, he was found dead. Neither suicide nor foul play is suspected.

TOKYO (AP) — A former Japanese finance minister who stepped down after appearing to be drunk at an overseas news conference was found dead in his home Sunday, police said, ruling out foul play.

Shoichi Nakagawa was lying face down in bed when his wife found him in their Tokyo home, a spokesman for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department said on condition of anonymity due to police policy.

Investigators have ruled out foul play because the room was undisturbed, and they were downplaying the likelihood of suicide. Determining a cause of death will likely "take some time," the spokesman said, adding that an autopsy will be conducted as part of an investigation.

The 56-year-old Nakagawa caused an uproar when he appeared to be intoxicated at a news conference during a meeting of Group of Seven financial leaders in Rome in February. International news programs repeatedly played footage of him slurring his speech and looking sleepy.

More odd behavior followed when he visited a museum at the Vatican after the news conference. He touched exhibits and set off an alarm after entering an off-limits area.

The trip was widely seen as a major embarrassment for the Japanese government.

Nakagawa stepped down as finance minister shortly afterward, denying he had been drunk and blaming cold medicine. But the opposition demanded his resignation.

Nakagawa had been a longtime lawmaker from the northernmost island of Hokkaido with the Liberal Democratic Party, which had ruled Japan almost continuously for the last half-century. He lost his seat in parliament in Aug. 30 nationwide elections in which the Liberal Democrats lost to the Democrats, who now rule Japan in a coalition.

Stunned colleagues said Sunday that Nakagawa appeared to be in good health recently but speculated that he may have been physically and mentally drained after losing his seat.

Former Prime Minister Taro Aso praised Nakagawa for helping the country tackle its worst recession since World War II.

"I’m in such a state of shock right…
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