Nara, July 9
The man who killed Shinzo Abe believed the former Japanese leader was linked to a religious group he blamed for his mother’s financial ruin and spent months planning the attack with a homemade weapon, said on Saturday the police to the local media.
Tetsuya Yamagami, a 41-year-old unemployed man, was identified as the suspect after Japan’s longest-serving prime minister was shot from behind.
The suspect was seen walking down the road behind Abe, who was standing on a platform at an intersection, before firing two shots from a 40cm long weapon wrapped in black tape. He was arrested by the police at the scene.
Yamagami was a loner who did not respond when spoken to, neighbors said. He believed Abe had promoted a religious group that his mother had bankrupted, Kyodo News Agency said, citing investigative sources.
“My mother got involved in a religious group and I resented it,” Kyodo and other national media told police. However, Nara police declined to comment. The media did not name the religious group he was allegedly upset with.
Yamagami assembled the weapon from parts bought online, spending months planning the attack, even attending other Abe campaign events, including one the day before some 200km away, media said.
He had considered a bombing before deciding on a gun, according to NHK, a public broadcaster.
The suspect told police he made guns by wrapping steel pipes with tape, some of them even with five or six pipes, with the parts he bought online, NHK said.
Police found bullet holes in a panel attached to a campaign van near the scene of the shooting and believe they were from Yamagami’s gun.
A Japanese Navy spokesman said a person named Tetsuya Yamagami served in the Maritime Self-Defense Force from 2002 to 2005.
He declined to confirm whether the person was the alleged killer. “Yamagami joined a training unit at Sasebo, a major naval base in the southwest, and was assigned to a destroyer artillery section,” he said. “During their service, members of the Self-Defense Force train with live ammunition once a year. They also do gun maintenance,” an officer said. —Reuters