Shinzo Abe’s suspected shooter sent to four-month-long psychiatric detention

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The person suspected of fatally shooting Japan’s former prime minister Shinzo Abe was sent to a four-month-long psychiatric evaluation at the Osaka Detention House in Osaka City on Monday.

Following the evaluation, the prosecutor will determine whether to formally press charges against Tetsuya Yamagami who is accused of assassinating Abe.

The suspect was taken into custody immediately after Abe was killed while giving a campaign speech in Japan’s Nara City on 8 July. A former member of the Maritime self-defence force, Mr Yamagami allegedly used a homemade gun to attack Abe.

According to the prosecutors, Mr Yamagami’s mental condition at the time of the shooting is a factor to determine whether he can be held criminally responsible.

The Nara District Court granted his custody for psychiatric evaluation till 29 November. His original detention period was scheduled to end on 29 July but has been temporarily suspended ahead of his psychiatric analysis, reported the Strait Times.

Mr Yamagami, 41, had told the police after the shooting that he killed the former president because of his links to religious group he hated. According to statements and evidence released in the public domain, he was reportedly distressed from the massive donations that his mother made to Unification Church, which bankrupted the family.

According to a senior investigator, Mr Yamagami spoke logically during the probe, has clear memory and there were “no changes in his statements”, reported the Strait Times.

"So far, our efforts to corroborate his statements haven’t found anything that contradicts them."

Meanwhile, Abe’s assassination also shed light on party’s decades-long links to the conservative church. Earlier in September 2021, the former prime minister had issued a video message praising church’s affiliate, the Universal Peace Foundation, for their work toward peace on the Korean Peninsula and its focus on family values.

The country’s main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party held a meeting last Monday to pursue an investigation into the influence of church in governing the Liberal Democratic Party’s objections to a legal change allowing same-sex marriages or for married couple to keep separate surnames.

Additional reporting from wires

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