March 9 (UPI) -- A Japanese government worker formerly in charge of negotiations for an under-the-table land sale linked to Japanese first lady Akie Abe was found dead, investigators said Friday.
The death of the finance ministry employee who worked at the Kinki regional bureau is being ruled a suicide, Jiji Press reported.
The man, whose name was being withheld, was found dead in his residence in the city of Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, according to the report.
Local authorities said foul play is not suspected, adding though the man is linked to the sale of deeply discounted land to Moritomo Gakuen, a school foundation with links to the first lady, the suicide cannot be attributed entirely to the school scandal.
The employee worked in the department of the ministry managing state-owned assets, according to Jiji.
The death is being reported only a week after local paper Asahi Shimbun reported documents regarding the land sale were manipulated before they were presented to Tokyo's parliament.
Kyodo News reported Friday that Japan's national tax agency head Nobuhisa Sagawa resigned in response to the scandal.
"I apologize for resigning from the post during the annual tax return season," Sagawa said, adding he feels responsible for causing "confusion."
Sagawa was director-general of the financial bureau of the finance ministry at the time of the land sale.
The land in Toyonaka, Osaka Prefecture, was sold in June 2016 for less than $1.3 million, but has a market value of more than $7 million.
Akie Abe previously denied involvement with Moritomo Gakuen but later stepped down as honorary principal at the foundation's planned elementary school following news reports of the 2016 land sale.