I disagree that this is the proper frame for what happened.
First, while I am no fan of the sort of lynch mob behavior that tends to emerge in the comments at the retractionwatch blog these days, scientific fraud still needs to be rooted out and exposed wherever it occurs. Blaming a suicide on the "witch hunt", as if rooting out fraud is not a valid or significant concern, is a problem to me. We already have enough enabling behavior in the Academy. Enough excusing, enough looking the other way and enough failing to convict a pattern of behavior because we can't lay beyond-reasonable-doubt gloves on the perpetrator. Dismissing all vigorous attempts to get to the bottom of a paper fraud situation as if they are baseless (i.e., witches do not exist) is counterproductive.
Second, data fabrication and fraud has victims. And all too often we frame scientific fraud ONLY through the lens of scientific understanding. Which, let us be honest, is fairly robust against claims that turn out to be wrong. Sure, time and money are lost, but the scientific understanding wins out in the end. Peoples' careers, however, often suffer irretrievable harm. When a job is won by a data faker like Marc Hauser or Michael Miller then someone else lost that job. When a research grant is awarded based on faked publications or preliminary data, another investigator doesn't get those funds [even the grants themselves are rarely pulled from the University, a new PI is frequently substituted]. These are serious harms, there are victims and turning a blind eye to scientific misconduct ensures more harms in the future.
Third, this was a Japanese investigator who decided to take ultimate responsibility by killing himself. I've been around a few decades and have noticed that middle and top level managers in Japan occasionally commit suicide over work-related matters that are inexplicably strange and unjustified to most Western (and certainly USian) eyes. It strikes me that there are cultural factors at play here that explain this event far more truthily than some analysis of the effects of a "witch hunt" about data fraud.
Nevertheless, if you absolutely insist that there is some thing about the current culture of science that resulted in this suicide of a research scientist, rxnm has some thoughts which seem much more related to me.
And what about everyone else? Journals, colleagues, scientists, journalists? Do we really need hero narratives? The splashy results that will “change everything”? The hype machine it is out of fucking control. We are adopting the language of biz-speak bullshit and starting to buy into these empty non-values about techno-utopian revolutionaries and lone geniuses. We all participate in the culture of valuing glam, prestige, prizes. Who gets the 8-figure grants while everyone else struggles to stay afloat? Who can I get a selfie with at SfN? Who gets to stamp their name all over the culmination of decades of work by hundreds or thousands? We’ve become cultish: around people, journals, technologies, institutions. As if these are things that matter more than the colleagues around us, or our own integrity. It’s pathetic, and we can be better.
Without the need for Glamourous results, there is less need to fake data. Without the hero and lone-genius narrative, PIs would feel less desire to appear always-correct and fear the overturning of their pet story or hypothesis much less. Without this intensely competitive fight to publish in the right limited subset of journals.... etc.
ps. Graduate students suicide occasionally too. Guess which culture change would have the greater effect- anti-fraud alleged witch hunts or dismantling the hypercompetitive, Glamour-humping prestige-seeking?