• Kyodo

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The office of former posts and telecommunications minister Seiko Noda in the city of Gifu was apparently burglarized of several items early Friday and then set afire, police said.

Whoever ransacked and burglarized the office broke a first-floor window to gain entry, stole three notebook personal computers and a security monitor camcorder before torching the premises, police said. Nobody was injured.

Police also said a safe, which contained hundreds of thousands of yen in cash and some documents, as well as other ready cash in the office were apparently untouched.

Noda’s secretary said he suspects the intruder was aiming at some information stored in the personal computers, which were used by the lawmaker and her staff.

Of the several video and DVD recorders at the office, only the one connected to the security camera was taken — an indication that it may be the act of somebody familiar with the lawmaker’s office, police sources said.

Noda, a House of Representatives lawmaker from the No. 1 constituency of the prefecture, ran as an independent in her successful re-election bid in 2005 after the ruling Liberal Democratic Party refused to put her on its ticket, fielding instead economist Yukari Sato due to Noda’s opposition to the then pending postal privatization bill.

Sato lost the hard-fought race in the single-seat election, but was elected in a regional proportion representation segment.

Alerted by a security guard, police saw smoke billowing from the office when they arrived at the scene around 3:15 a.m. and called firefighters, who extinguished the blaze about 30 minutes later.

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