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New details emerge about the man who assassinated former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe


Tetsuya Yamagami, heart, holding a weapon, is detained close to the positioning of gunshots in Nara, western Japan Friday, July 8, 2022.The Related Press

For weeks earlier than he murdered Shinzo Abe, Tetsuya Yamagami ready, stockpiling selfmade firearms and explosives and finding out the previous Japanese prime minister’s schedule.

Mr. Yamagami, 41, shot Mr. Abe twice on Friday whereas the politician was giving a speech in downtown Nara, a metropolis in western Japan, in help of a candidate for Sunday’s higher home elections.

He used a selfmade gun manufactured from metallic and wooden, with two barrels linked by duct tape and a pistol grip, which let off an enormous quantity of noise and white smoke. Police stated they discovered different weapons with three, 5 and 6 barrels in Mr. Yamagami’s residence, in addition to rudimentary explosives.

Mr. Yamagami was arrested instantly after taking pictures Mr. Abe, who died 5 hours later in hospital. The shooter didn’t try to flee, witnesses say, as he was tackled by Mr. Abe’s safety element. The police stated Mr. Yamagami confessed to eager to kill the previous prime minister.

A former member of Japan’s navy, by which he served a three-year stint ending in 2005, Mr. Yamagami lived in Nara and most lately labored at a producing firm within the surrounding Kansai area, in accordance with the Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

He handed in his resignation in April, saying he was “drained,” and has since been unemployed, the paper stated, citing former colleagues of Mr. Yamagami.

A neighbor of Mr. Yamagami recalled seeing him two days earlier than the assault, saying he ignored her greeting.

“He appeared very nervous, so I felt that he did not prefer to work together with folks,” the 69-year-old retiree who gave her identify solely as Nakayama advised Reuters. “Now once I give it some thought, at that second it appeared like he was bothered by one thing.”

In line with Japanese media, citing police sources, Mr. Yamagami advised investigators he believed Mr. Abe was linked to a non secular group he blamed for ruining his mom financially and breaking apart their household. Police earlier stated the crime was motivated by “hatred in direction of a sure group,” which they didn’t establish.

The killer advised the police he studied Mr. Abe’s schedule on-line as he constructed weapons in an effort to kill him. He had additionally hoped to kill a frontrunner within the unnamed spiritual group, in accordance with a number of studies.

Jeffrey Corridor, particular lecturer in Japanese research at Japan’s Kanda College of Worldwide Research, stated the obscure wording utilized by police about Mr. Yamagami’s motive was most likely meant to keep away from stoking any discrimination in opposition to the group’s followers, in addition to avoiding any impression on Sunday’s election.

“Japanese society is mostly suspicious in direction of newer spiritual teams, the phrase ‘cult’ will probably be used very often,” Mr. Corridor stated, including that a number of teams which were speculated about on-line as being linked to the incident “are overseas in origin, though most likely quite a lot of their followers in Japan are Japanese folks.”

He stated the police and the media are strolling a fragile line, as withholding data can provoke conspiracies and accusations the authorities are doing so as a result of they’re managed by the teams concerned.

“This type of reporting, which can be motivated by a need to stop discrimination or by a need to stop an unfair impression on the election, may in the end result in a backlash in opposition to no matter group this particular person is affiliated with and presumably others which are simply related “Mr. Corridor added.

Whereas conspiracy theories usually are not as mainstream or influential in Japanese politics as they’re in some western societies, significantly america, Mr. Corridor stated that “in the event you seek for the identify of any of those new religions along with a politician’s identify, you will see theories about them, no matter whether or not there’s any actual proof for that.”

A right-wing nationalist who sought to revive conventional practices in Japan, Mr. Abe had ties with quite a few religion teams, focusing on conservative believers as a gradual provide of votes for his Liberal Democratic Celebration.

Mr. Abe served as “supreme adviser” to Nippon Kaigi, a right-wing foyer group that additionally counts as members many different main LDP figures. Nippon Kaigi promotes respect for conventional Shinto beliefs, together with visits to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, the place Japanese battle lifeless are buried, together with these accountable for Second World Warfare atrocities.

There are additionally ties between each Mr. Abe and the LDP and the Unification Church, which shortly grew to become a trending matter on Japanese social media Saturday. Many commenters resurfaced clips of a speech Mr. Abe gave at an occasion organized by the group final yr, alongside former US President Donald Trump and Cambodian chief Hun Sen.

Now formally often called the Household Federation for World Peace and Unification, the church was based by South Korean pastor Solar Myung Moon in 1954 and is thought for cultivating ties with conservative politicians around the globe. The group has had hyperlinks to the LDP relationship again a long time, together with to Mr. Abe’s father, former Japanese overseas minister Shintaro Abe.

There are dozens of Unification Church ministries throughout Japan, with one in Nara located lower than 500 meters from the place Mr. Abe was shot, in accordance with the group’s official web site.

In recent times, an offshoot of the Unification Church run by the late Mr. Moon’s son, Hyung Jin Moon, has additionally begun increasing in Japan. The Pennsylvania-based World Peace and Unification Sanctuary Church — also referred to as the Rod of Iron Ministries — is infamous for its attachment to weapons, with members collaborating in spiritual ceremonies holding assault weapons.

The Household Federation didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.

Timothy Elder, director of world missions for Sanctuary Church, stated the group had no data indicating any connection between Mr. Yamagami and the church.

“Sanctuary households in Japan did their finest to help Shinzo Abe throughout his tenure as prime minister,” he added. “It is illogical that considered one of them would search to hurt him.”

With a file from Reuters.

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