TOKYO – A Japanese court announced Friday the indictment of the suspect in the murder of former prime minister Shinzo Abe after a thorough mental evaluation that determined he was competent to face trial.
Tetsuya Yamagami was arrested right away following the assassination of the former Japanese prime minister last July while he was giving a campaign rally in the western city of Nara.
The 42-year-old underwent a psychological evaluation for months before being transferred to a police station earlier this week.
According to Kenichiro Nomura, a spokesman for the Nara District Court, Yamagami is accused of murder and breaking arms control rules. If found guilty, he might receive the death penalty.
Yamagami admits murdering Shinzo Abe
Local media said Yamagami has acknowledged to killing Abe, and photos obtained at the scene show him holding and firing an apparent improvised weapon.
Reports disclosed that he singled out Abe because of the former leader’s affiliation with the Unification Church, a world group whose adherents are commonly referred to as “Moonies.”
Yamagami is thought to have harbored resentment toward the church because his mother’s substantial gifts left his family penniless.
While not a member of the church, Abe received a rare state funeral and, like other well-known speakers like Donald Trump, had spoken to a group associated with it.
Sun Myung Moon founded the church in Korea in 1954, and it gained international prominence in the 1970s and 1980s.
The organisation, which goes by the name Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, has denied wrongdoing and promised to stop “excessive” contributions from its members.