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Former Japanese Exec Commits Suicide

October 10, 2000

TOKYO (AP) _ A former vice president of a bankrupt department store chain committed suicide Tuesday, becoming the second executive of the company to take his own life, police said.

Yukio Nakazawa, 74, hanged himself in the bedroom of his home, according to Kazuhiro Chiba, a local police official. Chiba said a suicide note was found at the home in Nishinomiya, western Japan.

Nakazawa was among 20 executives facing damages lawsuits totaling $103.7 million over their failure to keep the Sogo department store chain from becoming insolvent, Sogo spokeswoman Yukiko Seto said.

Nakazawa retired as vice president five years ago and served as an adviser after that.

Sogo filed for bankruptcy protection in July after the government balked at a plan to forgive $4.4 billion in loans.

In Japan, taking one’s own life is often seen as a respectable way to take responsibility or avoid disgrace; amid a prolonged economic slowdown suicides are at a record high.

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