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Saturday, 2 May, 1998, 05:11 GMT 06:11 UK
Japanese bank boss kills himself
Takayuki Kamoshida is the latest in a series of government bureaucrats to take his own life
Kamoshida: latest in a series of bureaucrats to take his own life
A top executive at Japan's scandal-plagued central bank has killed himself - the fifth suicide by a government bureaucrat this year.

The Chief Director at the Bank of Japan, Takayuki Kamoshida, 58, was found hanging from a rope in his Tokyo apartment.

A suicide note found in the apartment said: "I'm tired. I'm at the limit."

His death is the latest in a series of suicides among senior banking and business figures.

Corruption probe

Mr Kamoshida was in charge of efforts to root out corruption at the central bank and to punish employees involved in bribery scandals.

He had worked at the bank for four decades and was not reported to be a target of any investigation himself.

Japan's financial world was shaken in March when the corruption investigation into the country's powerful bureaucracies reached the central bank.

The Bank of Japan had long been considered immune to scandal and had never before been the subject of a criminal inquiry.

A bank official was arrested for allegedly accepting bribes from financial institutions.

The bank also punished 98 employees last month who were found to have been wined and dined by financial institutions.

The bank's former Governor Yasuo Matsushita resigned to take responsibility for the scandal.

Number of suicides spiralling

Japan has a long tradition of using suicide as a way to take responsibility for, or to escape from, disgrace or failure.

The head of Japan's highway authority killed himself in January as prosecutors investigated his agency after arresting a subordinate for allegedly accepting bribes from Nomura Securities Co.

Days later, a finance ministry official hanged himself just as he was about to be questioned about receiving lavish entertainment from banks.

In February, a governing party lawmaker hanged himself as prosecutors prepared a warrant for his arrest. He was accused of accepting illegal stock profits from Nikko Securities Co.

Many of the bribery charges and penalties stemmed from late-night dining and drinking sessions that have been a traditional part of doing business in Japan.

However, government officials are increasingly being prosecuted for accepting bribes as Japan strives to deregulate its financial sector and reform its bureaucracies.

As Japan's economy continues to struggle, suicides by private sector executives have also surged in recent years.

The number of corporate suicides in 1996 - the latest figures available - rose by 16% from the previous year, according to national police figures.

See also:

26 Feb 98 | Asia-Pacific
Japanese businessmen in suicide pact
17 Mar 98 | Asia-Pacific
String of suicides shocks Japan
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