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Yamagami Tetsuya ‘Intended To Kill’ Shinzo Abe–Here’s What We Know About The Shooter

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Topline

The man who shot and killed former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Friday was a former member of the Japanese Navy who owned handmade guns and explosive devices and intended to kill the country’s former leader, officials said today as the news of the shooting stunned the nation.

Key Facts

Yamagami Tetsuya, 41, allegedly used a handmade gun to shoot the former Prime Minister at a campaign event Friday in Nara, Japan, where the gunman lives.

Police initially told news outlets Tetsuya said he did not hold a “political grudge toward Abe,” but later confessed he was dissatisfied with the former prime minister and “intended to kill” him.

Security officials immediately tackled Tetsuya, who reportedly made no attempt to flee the scene – and arrested him on suspicion of attempted murder, the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported.

Tetsuya was a member of the Japanese Navy for three years, from 2002 to 2005, where he received firearms training and served several roles, including self-defense official and crew member of the escort ship Matsuyuki, Japanese news outlet NHK reported, citing the Japanese Ministry of Defense.

Police also confiscated several handmade guns and explosives from his apartment, and asked residents nearby to evacuate due to the risk of an explosion while they dispose of the firearms.

Tetsuya had been working at a manufacturing plant in Japan’s Kansai region over the past two years, quitting in May, according to the Kyodo News.

Key Background

Tetsuya fired two shots from behind Abe, who was campaigning for a local politician ahead of the July 10 Upper House election in Nara, Japan. Abe, the longest serving Japanese prime minister (2012 to 2020), died hours later at Nara Medical University Hospital, shocking the country, where gun deaths are one of the lowest among high-income countries (0.02 homicides per 100,000 people). Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he was “lost for words” immediately after Abe’s death.

Crucial Quote

“Even at the moment [Abe] was attacked, he was engaged in the work of democracy,” President Joe Biden wrote in a statement Friday morning, writing that he was “stunned, outraged and deeply saddened by the news that my friend” was shot and killed.

What To Watch For

A court date for Tetsuya. Japan can turn to capital punishment in cases of homicide, although homicides are incredibly rare in Japan, which ranks among the lowest in gun deaths, with only nine in 2018.

Further Reading

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Assassinated During Election Campaign Event (Forbes)

Here’s How Japan’s Low Gun Death Rate Compares To The U.S. And Other Countries (Forbes)



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