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Bangkok Post
Bangkok Post

Prosecutors to indict Abe shooter after psychiatric evaluation

Tetsuya Yamagami, suspected of killing former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is escorted by a police officer as he is taken to prosecutors, at Nara-nishi police station in Nara, western Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo News on July 10, 2022. (Photo: Kyodo News)

Prosecutors have decided to indict the man accused of fatally shooting former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in July following a psychiatric evaluation, sources close to the matter said Saturday.

The Nara District Prosecutors Office earlier extended the detention of Tetsuya Yamagami, 42, to carefully examine whether he was mentally fit to withstand trial.

His statements during the examination, including those on how he made a firearm himself to shoot Abe, led the prosecutors to believe he was competent enough to be tried, the sources said.

The period of his detention for mental examination will expire on Jan 10. Yamagami was arrested for murder after shooting Abe on July 8 during a campaign speech in the western city of Nara.

Yamagami told investigators that 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, investigative sources have said.

According to Yamagami's uncle and the church's senior official, his mother made donations totalling about ¥100 million (US$753,000) to the group -- formally known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification. Yamagami told investigators her repeated donations left his family in financial ruin.

His citing of the church's ties with politics as a motive exposed links between some Japanese lawmakers and the church, prompting political parties, including the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, to probe their connections with the religious group, founded in South Korea in the 1950s.

The government is also inquiring into the church's activities to assess whether it has been systematically involved in soliciting massive, financially ruinous donations from its members and their families.

A picture of late former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was shot while campaigning for a parliamentary election, is seen at Headquarters of the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party in Tokyo, Japan, on July 12, 2022. (Photo: Reuters)
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