Akagi's widow writes to PM asking for new probe

The widow of a former Finance Ministry official who killed himself after being pressured to falsify ministry documents has sent a letter to Prime Minister Kishida Fumio asking for a new investigation into the case.

The ministry released a report on its probe into the falsification three years ago. But Akagi Masako, the wife of the deceased official, indicates it was insufficient and has demanded a re-investigation by a third-party panel.

Akagi Toshio, who worked for the ministry's regional bureau in Osaka, committed suicide in 2018. Despite his protests, he had been forced to falsify documents related to the sale of state-owned land to a school operator at well below market value.

The lawyer for the widow says she sent her handwritten letter to new Prime Minister Kishida on Wednesday.

The previous administrations of Abe Shinzo and Suga Yoshihide declined to carry out a fresh investigation.

Akagi Masako's two-page letter begins with "Please listen to me." Kishida has often emphasized his ability to listen to people.

She says she wants to know why the 2018 ministry report on its internal investigation did not mention that her husband committed suicide after suffering from depression and poor health due to the falsification.

She also writes that the ministry failed to disclose how it responded to her husband's protests that the original documents should not be falsified or revised.

The widow says the protests were recorded in the so-called Akagi-file of related papers and e-mails, which her husband had left at his workplace.

Akagi Masako concludes the letter by saying that something is wrong with a society where people cannot say what is right is right.

She says, "I hope Prime Minister Kishida will understand. Please make the truth clear by a third-party re-investigation."

The widow is also seeking damages from the state and a former senior ministry official who the ministry says ordered the falsification.