Toshio Akagi, who was forced to illegally rewrite official documents as part of his duties, took his own life in pain for having done so. His husband, who had lived with pride as a public servant, passed away at the age of 57. His wife, Masako, continues to appeal, saying, “I want to know what happened.
She wanted to talk to Nobuhisa Sagawa, the former director general of the Ministry of Finance, but was unable to do so, so she decided to sue the government and Mr. Sagawa in court. She hoped to find out what had happened to her husband during the trial.
The reason for the “forbidden move” that stunned the legal community
On December 15, the trial “came to an end” without a hitch when the state “admitted” that it was completely at fault.
I was very surprised when I heard that the government had ‘accepted’ the case.
I was very surprised when I heard that the government had ‘accepted’ the case,” said Masahiro Sogabe, a professor at Kyoto University’s Graduate School of Law.
What Masako Akagi wanted was not compensation. She didn’t want money, but she wanted to find out the truth in the form of a trial for state compensation. But the government wanted to avoid that. In other words, if they admitted all of the claims, there would be no further trials. It was a calculating decision. I think there is something impure in this, and I feel that the system has been abused.
Masako Akagi told a press conference that she was frustrated and criticized the government for being cowardly. In the first place, when the falsification of official documents and Ms. Akagi’s suicide occurred, the Diet “could not” conduct an investigation. In this country, the right to investigate national politics is not functioning.
One thing that can be said is that at the time of the incident, the Abe administration had become too powerful and the people around it were too disciplined. It’s clear that this is what happened in that context.
When the power of the ruling party is so strong and has been in power for so long, is it impossible to stop such a “trend”?
In this regard, Japan is ‘Galapagos. In other countries, there is a system to prevent such brutality. In other countries, such as Germany, there is a system called the “minority right of inquiry,” which allows a quarter of the Diet members to conduct an investigation of the national government. There is an argument that Japan’s system, which does not allow investigations into national politics without the cooperation and approval of the ruling party, should be reviewed.
There is a system in which an “investigation committee” is set up and an “external” investigation is conducted in highly public areas such as aircraft accidents and medical accidents. However, such a method cannot be used for individual cases like this one. Under the current system, it is difficult to investigate the truth in the Diet. The same is true for the issue of the payment of government-owned land and human rights violations at the Immigration Bureau.
And one more thing from another perspective. This is a universal problem in Japanese society. You can’t go against the orders of the organization, and the organization will not protect your life. Mr. Akagi, who was forced to do something impossible, was, so to speak, ‘betrayed twice’ by this approval. This is not a one-size-fits-all situation, but a problem that affects everyone. It is very important that Masako is using her real name to make her appeal. I think it is important to raise our voices.
We live in a society where the interests of the organization take precedence over the dignity of the individual. For example, the “contentious prosecutor,” or “man in the middle,” on the government side in charge of this claim for state compensation is also a “man of the organization.
The government is willing to make such a sudden change in policy in order to prevent the truth from being revealed. If I were a “man in the middle” of the Ministry of Justice, I’d say. … I would have a guilty conscience. However, as a working person, a litigating prosecutor in the field would have no choice but to obey the higher-ups who decided to approve the case. The Ministry of Justice employees are also members of the organization.
There are many contradictions and questions hidden in the background of the government’s decision to admit and “accept” Mr. Akagi’s case.
Some companies are now beginning to talk about the importance of valuing the individual. However, there are still many cases where the individual becomes a victim of the organization.
What we can do is not just put up with this level of unreasonable behavior, but to raise our voices. The only thing we can do is to speak up when we feel unreasonable and to raise our voices more.
The only way to overcome this problem is to speak up and speak out more.
I was surprised by the approval. It’s not that there was no precedent, but I think people in the legal field were all surprised. What is it that they wanted to deny so badly? Not only the courts, but also the Diet’s function of holding people accountable is not functioning properly. There are a number of things that need to be reviewed.
And I highly appreciate Masako Akagi’s courage so that we will not continue to live in a society where organizations sacrifice individuals.
We need a lot more courage.
Photo： Yoshio Tsunoda/Afro