Scandal-linked scientist found dead
A RENOWNED Japanese stem cell scientist who co-wrote research that was later retracted in an embarrassing scandal has been found dead in an apparent suicide, police said yesterday.
The body of Yoshiki Sasai, 52, was discovered hanging in the stairwell of a building that houses the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology, one of the country's most prestigious scientific research institutions.
The police are investigating the case as a suspected suicide.
The authorities discovered "farewell notes" that Dr Sasai had left behind, with public broadcaster NHK reporting that one was left for Haruko Obokata.
Dr Sasai mentored Ms Obokata, 30, whose study earlier this year was hailed as a "game-changer" in the quest to grow transplant tissue in the laboratory. But the feted research unravelled amid claims that Ms Obokata had used fabricated data in her research.
In the aftermath of the scandal, Dr Sasai was accused of failing to properly supervise her. He later apologised.
"It's extremely regrettable," Japan's top government spokesman and Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga, told reporters.