Over ¥1 million donated to Abe shooter

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Tetsuya Yamagami, the suspected attacker of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is escorted by police on July in Nara City.

OSAKA, Sept. 7 (Jiji Press) — Over ¥1 million has been donated to the suspect in the fatal shooting of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, sources familiar with the situation told Jiji Press.

Experts warn that such assistance could help justify the incident.

The money was sent to a detention center in the western Japan city of Osaka, where the 41-year-old suspect, Tetsuya Yamagami, is undergoing a psychiatric examination to see if he can take criminal responsibility for the shooting.

Abe was gunned down by Yamagami, who was arrested on the spot, while delivering a campaign speech in the city of Nara near Osaka on July 8.

Yamagami has told investigators that his family was destroyed by a religious group, formerly known as the Unification Church, to which his mother belongs, and that he thought that Abe had ties with the group.

Donations of cash, clothing, food and comic books have been sent to the detention center for the suspect, according to the sources. Some of the donations were transferred to the home of a relative, as there is no more space available for the donations at the detention center, the sources said.

On the Change.org website, a petition seeking a reduced sentence for Yamagami has gathered over 7,900 signatures. Some of Yamagami’s supporters claim that they cannot help but sympathize with him and that he is a victim.

But experts warn that the act committed by the suspect due to his personal resentment and issues related to the Unification Church should be considered separately.

“The sympathy for the suspect and the maliciousness of the incident should not be confused,” said Yasuyuki Deguchi, professor of criminal psychology at Tokyo Future University.

While accepting that support can be offered to the suspect in terms of sympathizing with his family environment, Deguchi said that “this should not lead to justification for committing a crime.”