Psychiatric detention starts for Abe shooting suspect

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Investigators carry boxes of items from the home of Tetsuya Yamagami in Nara City on Sunday.
The Yomiuri Shimbun
Tetsuya Yamagami leaves Nara Nishi Police Station in Nara City on Monday to be transferred to the Osaka Detention House in Osaka City.

NARA — Psychiatric detention started Monday for Tetsuya Yamagami, who is suspected of fatally shooting former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, after he was transferred from the Nara Nishi Police Station in Nara City to the Osaka Detention House in Osaka City.

Yamagami, 41, allegedly killed Abe in Nara City during a campaign speech for the upper house election on July 8. Prosecutors believe Yamagami’s mental condition at the time of the crime, and whether he can be held criminally responsible, needs to be examined.

The psychiatric detention will continue for about four months through Nov. 29. Yamagami’s original detention period was scheduled to end on July 29, but this has been temporarily suspended while he undergoes a psychiatric analysis by experts.

According to investigative sources, Yamagami, a former member of the Maritime Self-Defense Force, prepared a homemade gun and gunpowder and checked Abe’s schedule before attacking him. He has told investigators that he held a grudge against the religious group widely known as the Unification Church because his family’s life was destroyed after his mother became a member of the group.

Yamagami also said he targeted Abe because he thought the former prime minister had connections to the group, which is now officially called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.

Although he allegedly acted in a calculated manner, it constitutes a leap in logic for Yamagami to have attacked Abe, which led prosecutors to decide that a psychiatric analysis was necessary before court procedures could begin.

“Yamagami has spoken logically during questioning. His memory is clear and there are no changes in his statements,” a senior investigator said. “So far, our efforts to corroborate his statements haven’t found anything that contradicts them.”