Tetsuya Yamagami: What we know about the man suspected of shooting Shinzo Abe

Tetsuya Yamagami: What we know about the man suspected of shooting Shinzo Abe
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Abe, 67, was pronounced dead by doctors at Nara Medical University Hospital at 5:03 p.m. local time on Friday, five hours after he was shot while giving a campaign speech in front of a small crowd on the street.

Nara Nishi police said at a press conference on Friday that 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami admitted to shooting Abe. Yamagami, who is unemployed, told investigators that Abe harbored a hatred for a particular group he thought was linked.

Police did not name the group.

According to police, Yamagami is being investigated as a “murder suspect” in a case involving 90 investigators.

He was taken to the Nara District Attorney’s Office on Sunday morning.

Yamagami has been described as a “totally normal” and seemingly “serious” person by at least two people who interacted with him, Japan’s Kyodo News Agency reported.

Citing an unnamed “former senior colleague”, Kyodo News Agency reported that he was hired through a shipping agency in October 2020 to work in the shipping department of a factory in Kyoto prefecture.

His former colleague described Yamagami as an introvert.

According to the Kyodo News Agency, his former colleague said, “He would have responded if he had a business talk, but he did not go into his private life. He seemed mild-mannered.” The former colleague added that Yamagami would “eat lunch alone in his car” and that “conversations with him never strayed off the topic at hand.”

According to the Kyodo News Agency, his former colleague said there were no issues with Yamagami in the first six months he worked until he began to show “gradual neglect” of business practices.

In March, Yamagami began taking “unauthorized leave” and spoke of “heart issues” and other physical issues, although he had never had any issues with punctuality or attendance before. Her job ended on May 15, the agency reported.

According to Kyodo News Agency, an unnamed employee at the referral agency who interviewed Yamagami for the job described him as “totally normal” but added that he “didn’t say much” and “made him feel a little gloomy”.

What kind of weapon was fired?

Police said the suspect used a homemade gun in the shooting, and footage from the scene showed it was a gun with two cylindrical metal barrels wrapped in black tape. Authorities later confiscated several handmade pistol-like items from the suspect’s apartment.

Police said the weapon was a gun-like object 40 centimeters (about 16 inches) long and 20 centimeters wide.

It appears to be a homemade weapon made on the ground, near where a security guard captured a suspect on July 8 in Nara, Japan.

According to the news that Japan’s public broadcaster NHK based on the police, Yamagami made a large number of weapons with iron pipes wrapped with adhesive tape. Police found guns with three, five and six iron pipes as barrels.

According to NHK, police said parts of the suspect shoved bullets into his handmade gun, which he bought online. NHK added that police believe the suspect used the most powerful weapon he made in the assassination.

What was the suspect’s plan?

According to Japanese Public Broadcaster NHK, the suspect told investigators that he initially planned to kill Abe using explosives.

Yamagami initially planned to assassinate Abe at an event in Okayama, about three hours’ drive from Nara, NHK reported.

“I was thinking of killing the former prime minister (Okayama) there, but I saw that there were admission procedures at the entrance and felt it would be difficult to get in,” he told investigators, according to NHK.

Nara police told CNN on Saturday that security footage showed Yamagami leaving Yamato-Saidaiji Station in Nara on Friday, after arriving by train.

How did the security forces react?

At the time of the shooting, Abe was speaking in support of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) candidates ahead of the July 10 Upper House elections. Despite resigning as Japan’s prime minister in 2020 for health reasons, Abe continued to be an influential figure in the elections. continued to campaign for the country’s political landscape and the LDP.

Japan's strict gun laws make shots rare

According to NHK, Japan’s National Police Service said it would review the security regulations in place prior to Friday’s shooting. Security was provided by the Nara state police, who prepared a security plan for the former prime minister while he was in town.

NHK reported that the agency had several dozen officers and security personnel from the Tokyo Metropolitan police on duty, watching Abe from all sides as he spoke.

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