By María Roldán
Tokyo, Jul 15 (EFE).- Lapses in the security arrangements around Japan’s former prime minister Shinzo Abe are under scrutiny a week after the politician was assassinated during a campaign speech in the western city of Nara.
Japan’s National Police Agency has sent a team of investigators to meet with Nara police who were deployed to the campaign event on July 8 and were unable to prevent the suspected killer, Tetsuya Yamagami, from shooting Abe.
Authorities seek to learn from the errors and adopt new measures to avoid a similar incident from occurring in the future.
Under Japanese protocol, politicians and dignitaries making public appearances are escorted by local police agents and special security officers from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department.
Last week, four police officers, including a special security agent, guarded Abe as he delivered his speech from a traffic island outside a Nara train station. Another officer guarded the rear.
Just before the shooting, the officer in charge of monitoring the space behind the former PM watched a man who passed by pushing a cart and did not notice that the suspect had begun to approach Abe from behind diagonally, according to details of the investigation reported by public broadcaster NHK.
Another agent was watching the sidewalk where the alleged killer was positioned at the beginning of the speech, but he also did not notice the suspect move to the road.
Abe’s assassination was captured by a number of onlookers with their cellphones.
Yamagami, a 41-year-old former serviceman, has since provided details to police about his possible motives for the attack.
Police said the suspect had developed a grudge against the Unification Church, which he accused of bankrupting his mother and devastating his family. Yamagami believed Abe was linked to the religious group.
Yamagami shot Abe with a homemade contraption similar to a shotgun.
The first shot failed from seven meters out but the killer was able to close the distance and fire again without being stopped by Abe’s security outfit.
He was detained on the spot.
Abe will be given a state funeral in the fall. A private funeral at a Buddhist temple in Tokyo was held earlier this week, drawing in thousands of mourners. EFE