Man accused of assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe | TBEN news


Japanese prosecutors have formally charged the suspect in the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with murder and ordered him to stand trial, a court said on Friday.

Tetsuya Yamagami was immediately arrested after allegedly shooting Abe with a homemade pistol when the former leader gave a campaign speech outside a train station in western Japan’s Nara in July. He then underwent a nearly six-month mental evaluation, which prosecutors said proved him fit to stand trial.

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According to the Nara District Court, Yamagami was also charged with violating a gun control law.

According to the police, Yamagami told them that he killed Abe, one of Japan’s most influential and divisive politicians, because of Abe’s apparent ties to a religious group he hated. In his statements and in social media posts attributed to him, Yamagami said he held a grudge because his mother had made huge donations to the Unification Church that bankrupted his family and ruined his life.

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One of his lawyers, Masaaki Furukawa, told The The Bharat Express News on Thursday that Yamagami will have to take responsibility for the dire consequences of his alleged actions and that his lawyers will do their best to reduce his sentence.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gives a campaign speech for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in Yokohama, a Tokyo suburb, on July 6. Later that same week he would be shot. (Yoshikazu Tsuno/TBEN/Getty Images)

Japanese law allows for the death penalty for murder, but experts say the death penalty is usually handed down for multiple murders and Yamagami could face life if convicted.

No date has been set for the trial, which is expected to have a panel of civilian jurors in addition to the usual judges, as is customary for murder and other serious criminal trials in Japan. There are no pre-trial hearings in Japan and defendants generally undergo trials.

Due to the complexity of the case, it will be months before his trial begins, Furukawa said.

Church controversy

Police are also reportedly considering adding several other charges, including manufacturing weapons, violating the explosives control law and causing damage to buildings.

Some Japanese have expressed sympathy for Yamagami, especially those who also suffered as the children of followers of the South Korea-based Unification Church, which is known for pressuring adherents to make large donations and which has been established in Japan as a sect. is considered to.

Thousands of people have signed a petition asking for leniency for Yamagami, and others have sent care packages to his relatives or the detention center.

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The investigation into the matter has led to revelations of years of cozy ties between Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the church since Abe’s grandfather, former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, helped the church take root in Japan in the 1960s because of shared interests in conservative and anti-Christian-communist causes.

Current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s popularity has plummeted for his handling of the Church controversy and his insistence on holding a rare, controversial state funeral for Abe.

Kishida shook up his cabinet in August to remove ministers with church ties, but the subsequent publication of a survey by the governing party in September showed that nearly half of the country’s 400 legislators had church ties.

Kishida, who said he has no relations with the church, promised party lawmakers will sever ties with the group, and his administration has launched an investigation that could lead to the church’s religious status being revoked.

Kazuo Kobayashi, 64, a resident of Chiba near Tokyo, said Yamagami should face justice regardless of his difficult background.

“I think it’s good to bring him to justice and make it clear what’s right and what’s wrong,” he said. “I want the matter to be fully investigated to get to the truth so that a lesson can be learned for Japan’s future.”