Senior Imperial agency official dies while climbing in Niigata

NIIGATA (Kyodo) Koichi Haraguchi, grand master of ceremonies at the Imperial Household Agency, died Sunday while mountain climbing in Niigata Prefecture, police said. He was 68.

Haraguchi, a former top Foreign Ministry negotiator on North Korean issues, collapsed and fell unconscious near the 1,963-meter summit of Mount Amakazari and was confirmed dead after his body was carried to a hospital by helicopter.

Haraguchi started his trek with six other agency officials at around 6 a.m. Sunday.