Crime & Justice

Abe assassin’s psychological evaluation complete, charges pending

Tokyo, Jan 10 (EFE).- The psychological evaluation of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe’s killer concluded on Tuesday, about six months after the assassination, while the detainee is yet to be formally charged.

Tetsuya Yamagami, 42, was arrested on July 8, 2022, after shooting Abe to death during an election campaign event in the streets of Nara city (west) with a hand-made weapon similar to a shotgun.

Yamagami, a resident of Nara city, was arrested at the crime scene. Abe, 67, was declared dead hours later due to hemorrhages caused by the impact of multiple bullets.

The perpetrator was moved Tuesday to the police headquarters where the probe is being carried out, and the prosecutors in Nara are expected to formally charge him with murder before his custody period ends on Jan 13, state broadcaster NHK reported.

Yamagami has been subjected to a prolonged psychological assessment in order to try to determine if he was in full control of his actions and can be held completely responsible for the murder, a point that is expected to be a key aspect in the trial.

According to article 39 of Japan’s Penal Code, if it is established that the perpetrator of a crime was not in their full mental capacity, they can get a reduced sentence, while if their actions are found to be products of insanity or a mental disorder, they are non-punishable.

Based on the results of the evaluation and taking into account the premeditation of the murder – as the gun was hand-made and the accused studied Abe’s campaign schedule – the prosecutors in Nara believe Yamagami was mentally competent at the time of the incident, according to details that have emerged from the investigation.

Yamagami allegedly committed the crime due to his resentment against the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, a controversial religious group commonly known as the Unification Church or the “Moon Sect”, as he believed Abe had ties to it.

The assailant had told the investigators that the significant donations his mother made to the group years ago had led to her bankruptcy and broken his family.

Abe’s murder triggered a thorough investigation into the Church and its close ties to Japan’s political elite, and with more “victims” of the sect coming out in the public sphere in recent months.

Yamagami has evoked sympathy in a section of the Japanese public and has received monetary donations worth more than a million yen ($ 7,588) over the past six months, in addition to gifts like clothes and sweets, among others, his uncle told the press recently.

The uncle receives the gifts at his home on Yamagami’s behalf as they cannot be stored at the detention center. EFE


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