Japanese prosecutors charge man with murdering former prime minister Shinzo
Japanese prosecutors have formally charged the man suspected of killing former prime minister Shinzo Abe.
- Tetsuya Yamagami has been charged with murder as well as gun law violations
- He was arrested at the scene after allegedly shooting Mr Abe with a handmade gun
- Prosecutors said the results of his mental evaluation showed he was fit to stand trial
The Nara District Public Prosecutors Office indicted Tetsuya Yamagami, 42, on murder charges as well as for violating gun laws after concluding a roughly six-month-long psychiatric evaluation.
Prosecutors said the results of his mental evaluation showed he was fit to stand trial.
Mr Yamagami was arrested on the spot on July 8 after allegedly shooting Mr Abe with a handmade gun while the former leader was giving a speech at an election campaign in the western city of Nara.
Mr Yamagami reportedly held a grudge against the Unification Church for impoverishing his family, saying it persuaded his mother to donate around 100 million yen ($1.1 million), and blamed Mr Abe for promoting the religious organisation.
The Unification Church was founded in South Korea in 1954 and is famous for its mass wedding. Its Japanese followers are a key source of income.
Shinzo Abe was shot from behind in Nara, western Japan, last July.(Reuters: The Asahi Shimbun)
The killing shed light on deep and longstanding relations between the church and Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) politicians.
The LDP has denied any organisational link to the church but has acknowledged that many members have ties to the religious group.
The approval rate for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s government had fallen to record laws following the revelation.
The premier replaced his ministers with ties to the church in August, and the persistent uproar over links to the church forced the resignation of his economic revitalisation minister in October.
In November, Japan launched a probe into the church that could threaten its legal status.