Japan ex-PM shooting suspect still undergoing psychiatric evaluation, 3 months after Abe’s death

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Police officers transfer shooting suspect Tetsuya Yamagami to Osaka Detention Center in Nara City on July 25.

October 8 marked the three-month anniversary of the shooting death of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Nara City.

Alleged gunman Tetsuya Yamagami, who was arrested on suspicion of murder, is currently undergoing psychiatric evaluation at Osaka Detention Center to determine if he can be held criminally responsible. The evaluation, slated to last until Nov. 29, is based on the Criminal Procedure Code, which allows psychiatrists to study a suspect to discern whether or not they are mentally stable.

Yamagami, 42, told the Nara Prefectural Police he had a grudge against the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification — widely known as the Unification Church — because his mother had donated a large sum of money to the religious group. He also told the police that he targeted Abe in the belief that the ex-premier had ties to the organization.

“In analyzing the [suspect’s] motive, it’s important to carefully examine his upbringing,” psychiatrist Ken Takaoka said. “Even if there are no obvious symptoms of a mental disorder, a personality disorder might be diagnosed after examining the suspect’s upbringing and identifying possible characteristics such as antisocial traits.”

According to relatives, Yamagami’s father died when he was 4 years old and his older brother suffered from childhood cancer. His mother, who sought solace through the former Unification Church, donated as much as 100 million to the group, leaving the family destitute.

“The suspect’s hatred may have developed due to the love he felt for his mother,” Takaoka said. “It’s possible that, ultimately, he couldn’t bring himself to hate his mother and instead focused his hostility outside the family. It will be necessary to analyze his emotional dynamics in detail.”

The Yomiuri Shimbun
People offers prayers at the site where former Prime Minister Abe was slain in Nara City on Saturday.