Disgraced DPJ member dies in apparent suicide

by Reiji Yoshida

Former Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Hisayasu Nagata, 39, died in a hospital after falling from an apartment building in Kitakyushu in an apparent suicide, a local police source said Sunday.

A resident of the building in Yawatanishi Ward found Nagata in a parking lot Saturday and called police. He was pronounced dead shortly after 7 p.m., the police source said.

Nagata was well-known for falsely accusing an executive of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party of receiving shady political funds from Takafumi Horie, founder of the Internet firm Livedoor Co., in 2006.

An apparent suicide note for Nagata’s family was left in a staircase between the 10th and 11th floor of the apartment building, together with an empty container of “shochu” distilled spirits, the source said. Police did not release any official statements.

Nagata tried to kill himself in November in Munakata, Fukuoka Prefecture, and was taken into custody by police, the source said.

In the scandal that ended his political career, Nagata made the false accusation in February 2006 based on a copy of what he claimed was an e-mail sent by Horie, but the text later proved to be fake.

The scandal, dealing a heavy blow to the party, prompted Seiji Maehara to resign as DPJ president and Nagata to give up his seat in the Diet in April 2006.

Nagata, a graduate of the University of Tokyo, was a Finance Ministry official before being elected to the Lower House in 2000.