Japan's financial services minister died in an apparent suicide two days before a tabloid magazine was set to reveal claims the married 73-year-old was involved with another woman, reports said Tuesday.
Tadahiro Matsushita was found hanging at his Tokyo home on Monday, the Mainichi Shimbun and other media reported, adding letters addressed to his wife, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and cabinet members were also discovered.
A woman who answered the telephone at the tabloid magazine Shukan Shincho told AFP that its Wednesday edition would carry a story on a scandal involving Matsushita that was "related to a woman". She declined to elaborate.
Press reports suggested the magazine would be publishing claims that Matsushita, who was also the state minister in charge of postal reform, was having an extra-marital affair.
Fellow cabinet members paid tribute to Matsushita on Tuesday, with Finance Minister Jun Azumi saying "he was a seasoned politician and the quality of his work was high".
Azumi will take over Matsushita's job as financial services minister, and Noda will cover his job as minister in charge of supervising privatisation of the post office network, Jiji Press reported.