The alleged killer of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be held until the end of November for a psychiatric evaluation so prosecutors can decide whether to formally press charges and send him to trial for murder, officials said Monday.
The suspect, Tetsuya Yamagami, was arrested immediately after he allegedly shot Abe in the back on July 8 outside a busy train station in western Japan while the former leader was delivering a campaign speech.
The Nara District Court said it had given district prosecutors permission to detain the suspect for a psychiatric examination until November 29, when they must decide whether to file formal charges. His current detention was due to expire at the end of this month.
Yamagami, 41, told police he killed Abe because of his links to a religious group he hated. His reported statements and other evidence show that he was distressed because his mother’s large donations to the Unification Church had bankrupted the family.
Abe’s killing shed light on his and his party’s decades-long questionable links to the conservative church.
Members of the country’s main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan met on Monday and confirmed plans to investigate how the church influenced the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s objections to legal changes to allow same-sex marriage or married couples to keep separate surnames. .
The group also said it would investigate whether the government’s new unit for children, to be launched next spring, added “family” as part of its organization’s name due to pressure from the church.
The church was founded in Seoul in 1954, a year after the end of the Korean War, by the late Reverend Sun Myung Moon, a self-proclaimed messiah whose teachings are backed by a new interpretation of the Bible and conservative, family-oriented values. system and strong anti-communism.
Abe, in his video message to the church-affiliated Universal Peace Foundation in September 2021, praised the group’s work toward peace on the Korean Peninsula and its focus on family values.
The relationship between the church and Japan’s ruling party goes back to Abe’s grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, who served as prime minister and shared concerns with Washington about the spread of communism in Japan in the 1960s.