A Japanese man suspected of shooting dead former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in July 2022 was charged with murder and firearms violations after undergoing a psychiatric evaluation on Friday.
Tetsuya Yamagami, 42, has been charged with murdering Prime Minister Abe. Prime Minister Abe was shot dead during an election speech in the western Japanese city of Nara on July 8, 2022. The police arrested Yamagami on the spot.
Yamagami, who allegedly shot Abe at point-blank range with a homemade gun, was also charged with violating Japan’s gun laws.
From July 2022, the Nara District Public Prosecutors Office determined that Yamagami could be prosecuted based on the results of the psychiatric evaluation he received. Kyodo News reportedA trial date has not been specified.
“We have to take Abe’s murder seriously,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters on Friday, adding that Yamagami’s violence during the election campaign threatened Japan’s “democratic foundations.” It pointed out.
Yamagami’s detention period for psychiatric evaluation, which began in July 2022, ended on Tuesday.
Police found explosives and a cylindrical object during a search of Yamagami’s apartment in Nara Prefecture last year.
Yamagami told police he intended to kill Abe because he believed he was associated with a religious group that bankrupted his family. Japanese media outlets have identified the religious group in question as the South Korean-based Unification Church.
Some Japanese have expressed sympathy for Yamagami, especially those who suffered as children of Unification Church followers, who have been known to pressure supporters into donating large sums of money. Considered a cult in Japan.
Current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s popularity plummeted for his handling of church controversy and his controversial insistence on holding Prime Minister Abe’s state funeral.
Kishida reshuffled his Cabinet in August last year, dismissing cabinet ministers with ties to the church, but a survey released by the ruling party in September found that nearly half of the 400 parliamentarians had church ties. It became clear.
Kishida, who said he had nothing to do with the church, promised party lawmakers to cut ties with the group, and his government launched an investigation that could lead to the revocation of the church’s religious status.
Abe served as prime minister of Japan and president of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party from 2006-2007, before resigning in August 2020 over health concerns.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.