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‘I wanted to believe my mother,’ tweeted Yamagami

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Tetsuya Yamagami is escorted by police officers in Nara City on July 10.

Tetsuya Yamagami, the suspect in the fatal shooting of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, was found to have started posting messages critical of the religious group widely known as the Unification Church on Twitter about three years ago, in addition to other tweets that expressed his mixed feelings toward his family, such as one reading, “I wanted to believe my mother.”

Yamagami, 41, made his first Twitter post on Oct. 13, 2019. Earlier the same month, an event attended by the top leader of the religious group — now officially called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification — had been held in Aichi Prefecture.

Yamagami was quoted by police as saying, “I tried to attack the leader using a Molotov cocktail, but couldn’t get close to her.” It is possible that he started tweeting immediately after his failed attack.

His postings on Twitter were mainly messages expressing his grudge against the Unification Church, such as one that stated the group “has been a social problem for decades,” while those related to his background and family also stood out. References to his mother, such as “I tried, for my mother,” and “I wanted to believe my mother,” were particularly notable

On the other hand, some of his posts were critical of his mother, such as one reading, “Her words express worry. She even cries, but in reality, she is indifferent to me in every respect.”

There were no posts about Abe that were hostile or that hinted at a desire to kill the former prime minister. Many of the tweets posted by Yamagami were rather positive about the Abe administration, such as one that reads, “It is a fatal distortion to fail to recognize the achievement of the Abe administration.”

Yamagami reportedly told investigators that he thought Abe was connected with the religious group. However, he tweeted, “There ‘s surely criticism of the Abe administration, but to view it the same way as the Unification Church as a matter of course is disrespectful.”

His last tweet was about Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 30 this year. As of Sunday morning, Yamagami’s account had only one follower and followed two accounts, including the official account of a weekly magazine. This seems to indicate that he did not intend for others to read his posts.