National

Suicide of Finance Ministry official linked to Moritomo Gakuen scandal recognized as work-related

JIJI

The Finance Ministry’s Kinki Local Finance Bureau has recognized the 2018 suicide of an official with links to the Moritomo Gakuen scandal as a work-related death, according to government sources.

The bureau, based in the city of Osaka, made the decision during the winter of last year, recognizing the causal relationship between the death and the official’s work, the sources said.

The official worked at the bureau’s property management department where an executive directly negotiated with school operator Moritomo Gakuen over the sale of state-held land in Osaka Prefecture.

The official, a subordinate of the executive, was found dead at his home in Kobe in March last year.

The ministry was criticized for selling the land in 2016 at a deep discount to the school operator, which was linked to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s wife, Akie. The ministry tampered with official records related to the transaction, including the deletion of references to Akie.

From the investigations into the tampering scandal, it was discovered that the ministry’s Financial Bureau in Tokyo instructed Kinki bureau officials to revise related records, which they tried to resist.

The ministry’s Secretarial Division declined to comment on the Kinki bureau’s ruling over the suicide, saying the matter is a private issue.

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