Killer of former Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe ‘set to be indicted’

Killer of former Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe ‘set to be indicted’

Tetsuya Yamagami's ‘evaluation period’ ends, shifted to police station in Nara city where he fatally shot Abe in July

By Riyaz ul Khaliq

ISTANBUL (AA) – The shooter of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is “set to be indicted” on charges relating to murder and firearms control law violations.

Tetsuya Yamagami, 42, who fired at and fatally injured Abe on July 8 last year during an elections campaign in western Nara city, was shifted to a police station in the same area from Osaka Detention House as his “psychiatric evaluation” ended on Tuesday.

His detention period will end on Friday as Nara District Court had extended twice Yamagami’s “evaluation period” since the public prosecutors had sought an extension and the court allowed it to continue until Tuesday, Tokyo-based Kyodo News reported citing sources.

Yamagami was arrested soon after he fired at Abe, 67, who later succumbed to his injuries the same day in the evening.

He was “under evaluation since July 25 to determine whether he was mentally fit to be held criminally responsible for his actions.”

The shooter claimed he “held a grudge against the Unification Church, a religious group known for its mass weddings and aggressive donation solicitations after his mother's large financial donations caused his family to fall apart.”

“He targeted Abe in the belief the former prime minister had links to the group,” Japanese investigative sources said.

The controversial group was founded by a staunch anti-communist group in South Korea in 1954 and is often labeled as a cult.

It was later established in Japan in 1968 with the support of Abe and Japan’s former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi.

After Yamagami’s arrest, police searched his home in Nara and confiscated multiple homemade guns and gunpowder.

He is also being probed for “damaging a building after test-firing a weapon at a facility connected to the Unification Church, a day before the fatal shooting.”

Since the shocking assassination of Abe, Japan has passed a bill banning organizations from “maliciously soliciting donations.”

The bill was passed by the House of Representatives last December after Japan saw criticism over the controversial Unification Church.

The bill is now being discussed in the House of Councilors, or the upper house.

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