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Shinzo Abe: Japan Police Admit To Security Problems Over Former Prime Minister

Who Was The Gunman, And What Did He Intend To Achieve By Bloomberg and The Guardian In a country where gun violence is rare, the murder of former Japanese leader Shinzo Abe is raising questions about the shooter and his motive. Here’s what we know based on media reports and official statements. What happened? Abe had just begun a campaign speech in the western city of Nara on Friday when he was shot from behind, from a distance of about three meters (10 feet). Two gunshots were heard. Moments later security personnel tackled a man to the floor. He was wearing a gray t-shirt, khaki trousers and a face mask. Who was the shooter? The gunmen has been identified as Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, an unemployed former member of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force — Japan’s navy — who is being investigated for murder following the confirmation of Abe’s death.

Who Was The Gunman, And What Did He Intend To Achieve

By Bloomberg and The Guardian

 

In a country where gun violence is rare, the murder of former Japanese leader Shinzo Abe is raising questions about the shooter and his motive. Here’s what we know based on media reports and official statements.

What happened?

Abe had just begun a campaign speech in the western city of Nara on Friday when he was shot from behind, from a distance of about three meters (10 feet).

Two gunshots were heard. Moments later security personnel tackled a man to the floor. He was wearing a gray t-shirt, khaki trousers and a face mask.

Who was the shooter?

The gunmen has been identified as Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, an unemployed former member of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force — Japan’s navy — who is being investigated for murder following the confirmation of Abe’s death. NHK reported that he worked for the force from 2002 to 2005.

The Asahi Shimbun newspaper said he was until recently working as a forklift operator in Kyoto prefecture.

 

 

Police in Japan have admitted there were “problems” with security for Shinzo Abe, as voters went to the polls for upper house elections two days after the former prime minister was assassinated on the campaign trail.

The head of police in the Nara region where Abe was killed admitted yesterday that there were “undeniable” flaws in security for the former leader.

“I believe it is undeniable that there were problems with the guarding and safety measures for former prime minister Abe,” said Tomoaki Onizuka, pledging a “thorough investigation”.

Voter turnout as of 10am was 6.18%, the Ministry of Internal Affairs said, up from 5.65% at the same time in the previous upper house election in 2019. Media said 15.3% of voters had cast absentee ballots in advance.

Polls close at 8pm local time, when initial exit poll results are expected.

The last hours of campaigning saw an increased police presence around figures such as prime minister Fumio Kishida when he appeared at a campaign event in a city south-west of Tokyo.

A metal detector was installed at the venue – an unusual security measure in Japan.

Kishida said: “We must never allow violence to suppress speech during elections, which are the foundation of democracy.”
Police are still piecing together details of the man who opened fire at close range on Friday, but they say the 41-year-old named as Tetsuya Yamaguchi has confessed to killing the former premier, motivated by a belief that Abe was linked to an unspecified organisation.

On Sunday, US secretary of state Antony Blinken said he would pay a brief condolence visit to Japan in the coming week to pay his respects and meet senior Japanese officials.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said: “The US-Japan Alliance is the cornerstone of peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific and has never been stronger.”

 

 

On Saturday, Japan mourned its longest-serving premier and well-wishers gathered to pay their respects, with senior politicians dressed in black arriving at Abe’s Tokyo residence on Saturday to offer condolences.

Local media reported that a wake would be held on Monday evening and a funeral on Tuesday for close family and associates.

The murder of Japan’s best-known politician has rattled the country and sent shockwaves around the world, particularly given Japan’s low levels of violent crime and strict gun laws.

Early on Saturday afternoon, Abe’s body arrived at his home, where mourners gathered to offer prayers and flowers. One, Tetsuya Hamada, said: “I am stunned that things like this still take place in Japan. It makes me sad. How is it possible that this happened in broad daylight?”

At the scene of Abe’s murder, 52-year-old Kayoko Ueda wiped away tears and described herself as “distraught”. “I couldn’t believe something like this could actually happen in Japan,” she said.

Yamagami’s motives remain unclear, with police declining so far to identify the organisation he believed Abe had links to.

 

 

They are investigating claims that Yamagami served in Japan’s navy, and said he appeared to have used a handmade gun.

The national broadcaster NHK said he described months of planning for the attack, including an initial plot involving explosives that was later shelved in favour of building guns.

Security at local campaign events in Japan can be relatively relaxed, but given Abe’s profile, questions have been raised about whether measures to protect him were too lax.

Footage of the attack showed that Yamaguchi was able to approach Abe from behind without being intercepted, and draw a weapon from a bag. He appeared to fire two shots, each producing a cloud of smoke.

Doctors who treated Abe said he sustained multiple wounds to his neck and the internal damage from the shooting reached as deep as his heart. He died of blood loss, despite receiving massive transfusions.

International reaction to Abe’s death was swift and stark, with the US president, Joe Biden, saying he was “stunned, outraged and deeply saddened” and ordering flags on US government buildings to fly at half-mast.

The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, said he was “deeply saddened” by the killing, which South Korea’s president called an “unacceptable act”.

 

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