The suspect believed the former PM had been promoting the interests of a certain religious group
Shinzo Abe’s suspected assassin had a “grudge” against the former Japanese prime minister but his motive was likely not political, initial findings by local police suggest. Tetsuya Yamagami, the 41-year-old suspect who was arrested at the scene, believed the former politician was involved with a “specific organization,” according to investigators.
“It’s not a grudge against the political beliefs of former prime minister Abe,” police in the western prefecture of Nara, where the incident took place, told reporters.
The name of the “specific organization” was not released, but investigators said it was apparently religious in nature – if it actually exists.
According to local media reports, citing investigative sources, the suspect had initially planned to slay the leader of this group, believing it was responsible for bankrupting his mother by continuously leaching donations from her.
Yamagami attacked Abe in broad daylight on Friday, fatally wounding the politician during a campaign event on Friday. Police confirmed the shooter had used a homemade gun, while additional items, believed to be explosives and other makeshift firearms, were seized at the suspect’s residence. Yamagami is believed to have made the weapon himself a few months ago.
Nara police admitted that security at the campaign event was flawed and did not provide enough protection for Abe.
“It is undeniable that there were problems in the security,” a police official told a news conference on Saturday. Earlier, local police officials told media that the request for security at the event had been “sudden.”