Abe shooter says he tried to make bomb: sources

Kyodo News

Posted at Jul 10 2022 12:43 PM

Security police tackle a suspect who is believed to have shot former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe outside Yamato-Saidaiji Station in Nara, Japan, 08 July 2022. The suspect identified as Tetsuya Yamagami was arrested and taken into custody. According to Japan's national broadcaster, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe died of his injuries on 08 July 2022, hours after being shot during an Upper House election campaign act to support a party candidate, outside Yamato-Saidaiji railway station in Nara, western Japan. EPA-EFE/The Asahi Shimbun
Security police tackle a suspect who is believed to have shot former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe outside Yamato-Saidaiji Station in Nara, Japan, 08 July 2022. The suspect identified as Tetsuya Yamagami was arrested and taken into custody. According to Japan's national broadcaster, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe died of his injuries on 08 July 2022, hours after being shot during an Upper House election campaign act to support a party candidate, outside Yamato-Saidaiji railway station in Nara, western Japan. EPA-EFE/The Asahi Shimbun

NARA, Japan - The man who fatally shot former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has told police he had attempted to make a bomb, investigative sources said Sunday.

Tetsuya Yamagami has also said he "made multiple guns," according to the sources. The police have searched his home in the western city of Nara, confiscating guns similar to the apparently homemade one found at the scene after Abe was shot Friday while delivering a stump speech on a street in the city.

Yamagami, 41, was sent to prosecutors Sunday on suspicion of murder.

Yamagami, who was unemployed, had previously worked for a manufacturer in the Kansai region from around the fall of 2020, but he quit in May this year, according to a staffing agency employee. He was previously a member of the Maritime Self-Defense Force for about three years through August 2005.

As for his motive, Yamagami has said his mother made a "huge donation" to a religious organization and he harbored a grudge against the group, which he believed was associated with Abe, sources have said.

One of the sources also quoted Yamagami as saying something to the effect of "initially, I intended to attack an executive of the group" but decided to target Abe instead.

While the 41-year-old assailant's motive is not fully known, many have strongly criticized the shooting during a stump speech on a street in the western city of Nara as shaking the foundation of democracy and exposing flaws in the security of dignitaries.

At a press conference, Tomoaki Onizuka, head of the Nara prefectural police, apologized for failing to prevent the attack and admitted, "It is undeniable that there were problems in the security."

Yamagami has also told the police that on the eve of the deadly shooting, he went to a hall in the western city of Okayama, where Abe delivered a speech for Sunday's House of Councillors election, according to the sources.

Former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe (C) is transported into an ambulance near Yamato Saidaiji Station after being shot in the city of Nara on July 8, 2022. Shinzo Abe was shot at a campaign event on July 8, a government spokesman said, as local media reported the nation's longest-serving premier was showing no vital signs. Yomiuri Shimbun / AFP
Former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe (C) is transported into an ambulance near Yamato Saidaiji Station after being shot in the city of Nara on July 8, 2022. Shinzo Abe was shot at a campaign event on July 8, a government spokesman said, as local media reported the nation's longest-serving premier was showing no vital signs. Yomiuri Shimbun / AFP

The rally attracted more than 2,000 people without a security check, but there were no problems, according to people involved in the event.

Yamagami, who used a homemade gun to shoot Abe and was arrested at the scene, has denied that opposition to the former prime minister's political beliefs had anything to do with him committing the crime, according to the police.

An official at the religious group said that it is true that his mother was a longtime believer but did not have knowledge of her financial situation.

Abe died from blood loss, with an autopsy determining that there were two gunshot wounds to his upper left arm and neck.

==Kyodo

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