Shinzo Abe Assassination Suspect Charged With Murder 

The man who is thought to have killed Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been officially charged with murder. Tetsuya Yamagami who is 41 years old was arrested right after he allegedly shot Abe with a homemade gun while the former leader was giving a campaign speech outside a train station in Nara in western Japan in July.

Yamagami went through a mental evaluation that took almost six months and ended on Tuesday. Prosecutors say he was found to be able to stand trial. According to the Nara District Court, Yamagami was also charged with breaking a gun control law.

Police say that Yamagami told them that he killed Abe, one of Japan’s most powerful and divisive politicians because Abe was linked to a religious group that Yamagami hated.

Yamagami said in interviews and on social media that he had a grudge because his mother gave a lot of money to the Unification Church, which put his family in debt and ruined his life.

A lawyer for Yamagami told the Associated Press that because the case is so complicated, it will likely be a few months before his trial starts. Police may also add more charges, such as making weapons, breaking the law on controlling explosives, and causing damage to buildings.

Some Japanese have felt sorry for Yamagami, especially those whose parents were members of the Unification Church in South Korea. This church is known for forcing its members to give big donations and is seen as a cult in Japan.

Thousands of people have signed a petition asking for Yamagami to be treated more kindly, and others have sent care packages to his family or the prison where he is being held.

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The death of Abe sent shockwaves through Japan and the rest of the world. Video was made of the dramatic shooting.

Japanese news outlet NHK says that Abe was shot about two minutes and twenty seconds into his speech. On a video taken before the shooting, Yamagami is said to be looking around while standing near a path behind Abe.

He then pulls something out of a bag he was carrying and walks slowly toward Abe, coming within a few yards of him before raising the gun and shooting, the station said.

Abe was the leader of Japan for the longest time. He was in office from 2006 to 2007 and again in 2012, but he quit in 2020 when his chronic ulcerative colitis got worse. At the time, he said that his decision was “gut-wrenching.”

During his time in office, he focused on the economy, rebuilding Japan’s military, and making Japan a bigger player in international affairs.

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