Japan extends detention for Abe’s alleged assassin

Jul 18, 2022, 7:57 PM | Updated: Jul 19, 2022, 8:10 am

People offer flowers at a memorial area near the site where former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo A...

People offer flowers at a memorial area near the site where former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was fatally shot in Nara, western Japan, Friday, July 15, 2022. Many people mourned the death of Abe at the site where he was gunned down during a campaign speech a week ago Friday, shocking a nation known for its low crime rate and strict gun control. (Kyodo News via AP)

(Kyodo News via AP)

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese authorities have obtained court approval to extend the detention of the suspect in former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s assassination earlier this month for 10 more days until they file formal charges.

Abe, one of Japan’s most influential politicians, was assassinated on July 8 in the western city of Nara, shocking a nation known for safety and strict gun control.

The alleged assassin, Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, was arrested immediately after the shooting and has been held for questioning. He can be detained until July 29, when prosecutors must decide whether to formally press murder charges.

Nara prefectural police have said Yamagami, who had served in the Japanese navy in the early 2000s, told investigators that he killed Abe because of rumored links between the former prime minister and a religious group that he hated. Yamagami reportedly was distressed because his mother’s massive donations to the Unification Church bankrupted the family.

Over the weekend, police obtained a letter they believe Yamagami had mailed to a journalist the day before the attack, describing how his mother’s overspending destroyed and bankrupted his family because of her devotion to the church. He said the experience “distorted my entire life.”

In the typed, one-page letter, the suspect allegedly said Abe was not his essential target even though he felt bitter toward him. He said that Abe was just one of the “sympathizers” of the church and that it would be impossible to kill all members of the church’s founding family — hinting at his decision to target Abe instead.

Yamagami allegedly said in the letter that he no longer had capacity to think about political consequences Abe’s death may cause.

Police have said the suspect had test-fired his powerful handmade guns at least twice — in the mountains and targeting a local branch of the Unification Church.

On Tuesday, Ryo Sakai, head of the Maritime Self Defense Force, told reporters that his troops were fully cooperating with police investigations. Yamagami, who was assigned to a destroyer based at Hiroshima, likely acquired more knowledge of firearms than ordinary citizens, even though navy training does not involve handmade guns.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has asked members of the governing party to be united to overcome difficulties amid a growing speculation of a power struggle among members of Abe’s party wing — the largest among the Liberal Democrats — over who should lead the faction.

Senior LDP lawmakers on Tuesday called for members to prepare for a state funeral for Abe. A smaller funeral at a Tokyo Buddhist temple was held last Tuesday and Abe was cremated, but Kishida announced plans for a state funeral in the fall in an event that will also serve as a diplomatic gathering. Abe’s death has prompted condolences from representatives of more than 100 countries.

The plan for the state funeral for a leader whose arch-conservative ideology has divided public opinion has triggered mixed reaction from opposition groups.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Eugene and Linda Lamie, of Homerville, Ga., sit by the grave of their son U.S. Army Sgt. Gene Lamie...

Associated Press

Biden on Memorial Day lauds generations of fallen US troops who ‘dared all and gave all’

President Joe Biden lauded the sacrifice of generations of U.S. troops who died fighting for their country as he marked Memorial Day with the traditional wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

22 hours ago

OpenAI's CEO Sam Altman, the founder of ChatGPT and creator of OpenAI gestures while speaking at Un...

Associated Press

ChatGPT maker downplays fears they could leave Europe over AI rules

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman on Friday downplayed worries that the ChatGPT maker could exit the European Union

2 days ago

File - Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, left, and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman arrive to the White House for a ...

Associated Press

Regulators take aim at AI to protect consumers and workers

As concerns grow over increasingly powerful artificial intelligence systems like ChatGPT, the nation’s financial watchdog says it’s working to ensure that companies follow the law when they’re using AI.

4 days ago

FILE - A security surveillance camera is seen near the Microsoft office building in Beijing, July 2...

Associated Press

Microsoft: State-sponsored Chinese hackers could be laying groundwork for disruption

State-backed Chinese hackers have been targeting U.S. critical infrastructure and could be laying the technical groundwork for the potential disruption of critical communications between the U.S. and Asia during future crises, Microsoft said Wednesday.

5 days ago

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House, May 17, 2023, in Washington....

Associated Press

White House unveils new efforts to guide federal research of AI

The White House on Tuesday announced new efforts to guide federally backed research on artificial intelligence

6 days ago

FILE - The Capitol stands in Washington D.C. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)Credit: ASSOCIATED...

Associated Press

What it would mean for the economy if the US defaults on its debt

If the debt crisis roiling Washington were eventually to send the United States crashing into recession, America’s economy would hardly sink alone.

7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...

Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Japan extends detention for Abe’s alleged assassin