Shoichi Nakagawa Found Dead

Shoichi NakagawaFormer Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa, who lost his Hokkaido Diet seat on August 30th, after his drunken appearance at a Rome G8 conference in February led to his resignation from the Cabinet, was found dead in his Setagaya home by his wife at about 8:15 this morning.So far, Tokyo police say suicide is unlikely, but are conducting an autopsy to determine the cause of death, which they believe may be related to prescription a sleeping medication he was taking.

Foul play has been ruled out.

The Kyodo report contains one interesting line:

When Nakagawa’s 50-year-old wife came home at around 9 p.m. Saturday, she saw him sleeping with his upper body leaning against the bed, his face down, but did not sense anything was wrong, they said.

The way that’s phrased makes it sound like an unusual posture, but perhaps not that unusual considering the number of even more unusual sleeping positions in which Mrs. Nakagawa must have seen her husband over the years.

Former Prime Minister Taro Aso expressed shock, as did other LDP members.

Neighbors reported that Nakagawa had seemed “gloomy” of late and had not been out in his garden – understandable, considering that he’d fallen about as far as someone in his position could fall over the seven months.

On the other hand, Nakagawa’s father, who’d built up the family’s power base in Hokkaido died in a Sapporo hotel in 1983 under circumstances that most observers believe to have been suicide. Considering Shoichi Nakagawa’s problems with drink and his poor professional fortunes of late, such a prospect is easy to imagine, but don’t wait for investigators to say so publicly, even after the autopsy (which will be “administrative” as opposed to “judicial” – the type of autopsy performed when a crime is suspected.)

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