Jan. 13 (UPI) — Japanese prosecutors on Friday formally indicted Tetsuya Yamagami for the July 8 shooting death of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Yamagami, who has been held by Japanese authorities since the assassination was charged with murder and violations of the firearms and sword law.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hriokazu Matsuno said during a news conference Friday that the shooting, which took place while Abe was making a campaign speech for a parliamentary candidate at a train station represents a challenge to the “foundation of democracy.”
“We have to take it seriously that Mr. Abe was killed,” he said.
Yamagami spent months under a psychiatric evaluation, and prosecutors on Dec. 24 determined he was mentally fit to stand trial, citing his description of how he crafted the firearm he used to shoot Abe by himself.
He also told prosecutors he targeted Abe due to his links to the Unification Church, a religious group known for its mass weddings and aggressive donation solicitations after his mother reportedly made donations totaling $753,000, which he said caused his family to fall apart.
Abe served as Japan’s prime minister from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2012 to 2020 before resigning due to health problems. He remained one of the most influential figures in Japanese politics as the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party.