Suspect formally charged for assassinating Japan’s Abe

Friday, Japanese prosecutors formally charged the suspect in the assassination of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, sending him to stand trial in court.

Yamagami Tetsuya, who allegedly shot former leader Abe with a homemade gun, was immediately arrested in July outside a train station in Nara, Japan’s western region, where he was making a campaign speech. He underwent a mental evaluation, which prosecutors said took place approximately six months prior to the trial.

According to the Nara District Court, Yamagami was also accused of breaching a firearm regulation.

READ MORE: Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated during a speech.

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Masaaki Furukawa, one of his lawyers, told The Associated Press on Thursday that Yamagami will have to take responsibility for the serious consequences of his alleged actions, his defense lawyers will do their utmost to lessen his sentence.

Experts say that Yamagami could receive a life sentence in prison if convicted of multiple killings, but Japanese law allows for the death penalty as punishment for murder.

No date is set for the trial, in which defendants in criminal trials, particularly those involving serious cases such as murder, are typically expected to have a panel of civil jurors in addition to the usual bench of judges in Japan.

Furukawa stated that because of the intricacy of the matter, it will be several months before his trial commences.

Police are also reportedly considering adding several other allegations, including producing weapons, violating the explosives control law and causing damage to buildings.

The assassination led to the resignation of top national and local police chiefs and tightening security guidelines for prominent people and political leaders, as well as implementing stricter gun controls and enhancing public safety in a country well-known for its tight security measures.

In light of Yamagami’s indictment, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno expressed, “We must treat with utmost gravity the atrocious act of aggression that led to the demise of former Prime Minister Abe.”

He stated that Japan will guarantee the security of dignitaries and governmental officials during the Group of Seven nations summit and nationwide local elections, which will take place in the spring.

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Some Japanese have expressed sympathy for Yamagami, especially those who have suffered as children of followers of the Korea-based Unification Church, which is known for pressuring adherents into making big donations and being considered a cult in Japan.

Thousands of people have signed a petition requesting leniency from Yamagami, asking him to send care packages to the detention center or to his relatives.

Kazuo Kobayashi, a 64-year-old resident of Chiba near Tokyo, stated that Yamagami should be responsible for his actions, regardless of his difficult upbringing.

READ ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: United States and Japan intend to enhance defense collaboration.

He expressed, “I believe it is essential to ensure he faces legal consequences and establish a clear distinction between right and wrong.” “I desire a thorough investigation of the case to uncover the truth and provide a valuable learning experience for Japan’s future.”

‘S Abe’s shared interests in anti-communist and conservative causes since his grandfather, former Prime Minister Kishi Nobusuke, helped establish the church in Japan during the 1960s.

Abe is currently being honored with a unique and debatable state funeral, which has resulted in a significant decrease in Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s favorability due to his management of the religious dispute.

In September, an investigation conducted by the governing party revealed that nearly half of the lawmakers in Connections church had ties to the national government. As a result, in August, Cabinet Minister Kishida shuffled his ministers to remove those with connections to the church.

Kishida, who claims to have no affiliation with the church, has promised that a cancellation of the church’s religious standing could prompt an inquiry initiated by his government, leading the party lawmakers to sever connections with the group.

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The government also adopted a law designed to help victims of the church’s fundraising practices, though experts say the measure is insufficient.

Yoshihiro Morishima, a 72-year-old resident of Yokohama, said that the church has long been a social problem, and I would prefer it if it disappeared at this point.

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