Japanese Former PM Shinzo Abe Shooting Suspect Refuses Contact with Mother

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Tetsuya Yamagami is transferred from Nara Nishi Police Station in Nara to Osaka Detention House in Osaka on Feb. 14.

The suspect indicted over the murder of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants no contact with his mother, according to sources. Tetsuya Yamagami has consistently declined offers of detention-house visits from his 70-year-old parent, and has not replied to her letters, the sources said.

Saturday marks one year since Abe was shot and killed while delivering a stump speech in Nara ahead of a House of Councillors election.

Yamagami, 42, is believed to hold a strong grudge against the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, formerly known as the Unification Church. His mother donated large sums of money to the organization and continues to follow the group.

Abe was slain on a street in front of Yamato-Saidaiji Station on the Kintetsu Railway Line in Nara. The Nara District Public Prosecutors Office indicted Yamagami for murder and other charges in January.

The mother donated a total of around ¥100 million to the Unification Church. Yamagami has been quoted by polices as saying that he resented the religious organization and had targeted Abe due to his perceived ties with the group.

Yamagami, who has been held at the Osaka Detention House in Osaka since February, reportedly reads newspapers and magazines daily, including articles about the Unification Church.

Although he has accepted visits from some of his relatives, he did not meet with his mother when she attempted to visit him — apparently for the first time since his arrest — at the detention facility in April, according to several sources.

People around Yamagami are said to have told him that his mother continues to believe in the faith. He is said to have stated that even if he were to meet his mother, she would merely tell him that the religious group is righteous.

The mother reportedly said she wanted to meet her son and restore their parent-child relationship, and that she has not been able to fully explain her faith to her him.

According to relatives, the mother, who joined the Unification Church in 1991, donated money to the church by selling land and her house. She declared voluntarily bankruptcy in 2002. Yamagami is said to have given up on a college education due the consequent lack of family cash.

Sources said that Yamagami attempted suicide in 2005 in a bid to secure insurance money for his brother and sister, but that his mother, who was working for the religious group in South Korea, did not return to Japan at the time.