Japanese ex-minister found dead

TOKYO: Police in Japan say former finance minister Shoichi Nakagawa, who resigned over apparent drunken behaviour at a G7 meeting, has been found dead.

Nakagawa, 56, was found dead in a bedroom at his Tokyo home, Japanese news agencies reported.

The long-time LDP lawmaker stepped down as finance minister after appearing groggy at a news conference in February at G7 talks in Rome.

He then lost his seat in his party’s 30 August election drubbing.

The cause of Nakagawa’s death was under investigation, a police spokeswoman told the Associated Press news agency. Japanese media reports said he was found face down on the bed by his wife, with no external injuries.

The incident at the Rome summit was a major embarrassment for the Japanese government.

Nakagawa later denied he had been drunk, blaming jet lag and medicine he had taken for a cold.

But during his campaign for August’s general election, Nakagawa promised to give up alcohol, toasting supporters in his constituency with locally produced milk instead.

Despite these promises, he lost his seat in Parliament.

Nakagawa - a lawmaker from the northern island of Hokkaido - was a member of the Japanese parliament for more than 25 years.