Shinzo Abe assassination | shooter initially planned to attack religious group leader, says police

Tetsuya Yamagami had a grudge against a religious group which he believed was linked to Shinzo Abe

July 09, 2022 12:34 pm | Updated 01:32 pm IST - Tokyo:

Tetsuya Yamagami, centre, holding a weapon, is detained near the site of gunshots in Nara, western Japan on July 8, 2022, after fatally shooting former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Tetsuya Yamagami, centre, holding a weapon, is detained near the site of gunshots in Nara, western Japan on July 8, 2022, after fatally shooting former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. | Photo Credit: AP

The man who fatally shot former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has told police that he initially planned to attack a leader of a religious group, the Japanese media reported on Saturday, quoting police sources as saying.

Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, has also said he had a grudge against a "specific organisation" -- possibly the religious group -- that he believed was linked to Abe, Kyodo News reported, quoting the police. The religious leader was not identified in the report.

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Abe, 67, died on Friday morning after being shot from behind during an election campaign speech near a train station in the western prefecture of Nara.

Yamagami was arrested at the scene where he was wielding a homemade gun.

Yamagami has denied he committed the crime because he was opposed to Abe's political beliefs, according to the police.

He also did not have a clue about what he wanted to do in life after graduating from high school, and had quit a job two months ago because he felt ‘tired’, The Japan Times newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, police have conducted raids at his apartment in Nara on Friday and recovered explosives and homemade guns, the report said.

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Yamagami, who attended a public high school in Nara Prefecture, wrote in his graduation yearbook that he “didn’t have a clue” about what he wanted to be in the future, it said.

According to government officials, he had served as a Maritime Self-Defence officer in 2005 at the Kure base in Hiroshima Prefecture.

In 2020, he was employed at a manufacturing company in the Kansai region, but in April this year, he told the company that he wanted to quit because he was “tired,” and left the job the following month, it added.

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