Japanese prosecutors said on Friday they had charged a man suspected of killing former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a fatal shooting last year.
The Nara prosecutor’s office said in a statement that it had charged Tetsuya Yamagami with murder and firearms after Abe was shot on July 8 while giving a campaign speech on a street in the city. city.
The Nara District Court confirmed to CNN that it had received the indictment.
Yamagami has been undergoing a psychiatric evaluation in Nara since his arrest last year to determine if he is mentally fit to stand trial, state broadcaster NHK reported. The assessment of his detention period expired on Tuesday, NHK added.
Yamagami was arrested at the scene and admitted shooting Abe, according to Nara Nishi police.
Doctors said the bullet that killed the former prime minister was ‘deep enough to hit his heart’ and he died of excessive bleeding.
Abe, 67, the former leader of the Liberal Democratic Party and Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, served in office from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2012 to 2020, before stepping down for health reasons.
His assassination in broad daylight shocked the world and sent shockwaves through Japan. World leaders offered their condolences as thousands of mourners gathered in the streets of Tokyo to pay their respects. An elaborate and controversial state funeral was held for Abe in September.
NHK reported at the time that the suspect had targeted the former prime minister because he believed Abe’s grandfather – another former leader of the country – had helped expand a group monk against whom he was angry.
CNN was unable to independently confirm which Yamagami group was referring to, however, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida referenced Abe’s ties to the Unification Church during a parliamentary session in last September, saying there were “limits to understanding” the former prime minister’s ties to the group after his death.
In October, Kishida ordered an investigation into the church amid a growing scandal linking his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to the controversial religious group that has seen a number of ministers resign.
The church, originally known as the Association of the Holy Spirit for the Unification of World Christianity, was founded in South Korea in 1954. It had a global reach by the 1980s and remains prominent in parts of Asia today.