Tetsuya Yamagami is a 43 year old Japanese national who was arrested for the assassination of the late Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe.
His motive behind the assassination has been uncovered as resentment towards the former Prime Minister’s alleged association with a religious group known as the Family Federation For World Peace & Unification, simply known as the Unification Church. The church had caused his mother to go bankrupt after she donated large sums of money to the group.
Yamagami has since been arrested and remanded in police custody and is awaiting trial on murder-related charges. This tragic event has raised questions about what led to such a cold-hearted move from a citizen of Japan. Here’s what we know.
Tetsuya Yamagami was Born in September 10, 1981
Tetsuya Yamagami, the primary suspect behind the assassination of Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister, was born on September 10, 1981, in Mie Prefecture, Japan. He is a Japanese citizen of Asian origins. At the moment, there is not much to say about members of his birth family, including his father and/or any siblings he might have.
So far, repeated reference has been made to the suspect’s mother as one of the key factors behind his most recent unhinged behavior. These sources have not revealed anything about her identity except for the fact that she used to be a member of a religious group known as the Unification Church.
Every indication so far points to the fact that Tetsuya Yamagami was raised in a Christian household, even though it appears as though he abandoned the religion in the latter years of his life.
He Used to Be a Member of the Japanese Navy
We are yet to uncover any detail of Yamagami’s formal education background, and as such, there is as yet no way to accurately decipher the extent or level of his formal education background. One vital piece of information that has been gathered about him concerns the fact that he used to be a member of the Japanese military.
From 2002 to 2005, Tetsuya Yamagami reportedly served his country as a member of the maritime self-defense force. The military outfit where the suspect served represented the country’s Navy. It remains to be seen the circumstances behind Yamagami’s withdrawal or discharge from the military.
Tetsuya Yamagami was Unemployed at the Time of the Assassination
From 2005 onwards, it would appear that Yamagami had to find other means of employment. Details of his employment history are not available to the public at the moment, but one thing is clear, Tetsuya Yamagami was unemployed when he made the decision to brutally send Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, to an early grave.
Prior to the events that unfolded on July 8, 2022, Tetsuya Yamagami found employment in the freight department of a factory in Kyoto Prefecture. He also reportedly got wind of the opportunity through a dispatch agency in October 2020. Part of the ongoing investigation into the murder of the late Prime Minister has involved questioning any known present or former associates of Yamagami.
One of such former associates was the suspect’s former senior colleague at the factory in Kyoto. The said former colleague described Yamagami as someone who kept his counsel. He also reportedly came across as gentle and normal. He went about his job and rarely got involved in any conversation that wasn’t connected to his job.
Things progressed normally until March 2022, when he started missing work without permission, which was something he had never done before then. On the occasions when he was questioned about his behavior and recent irresponsibility with his job, Tetsuya complained about having complications with his heart and other health-related challenges.
The company allegedly showed a level of understanding of his predicament and offered support. There obviously wasn’t much improvement in his work output, and the company could no longer put up with such a lackadaisical approach to his job and proceeded to take action. The company’s action resulted in a loss of a means of livelihood for the suspect as his employment with the Kyoto-based factory was reportedly terminated on May 15, 2022.
Tetsuya Yamagami Murdered Shinzo Abe Almost 2 Months After Losing His Job
On July 8, 2022, Tetsuya Yamagami committed a crime that sent shock waves throughout Japan and the rest of the world when he aimed, shot at, and killed Shinzo Abe in Nara, Japan. The latter was Japan’s longest-serving prime minister and was on a campaign tour when the incident happened. Yamagami reportedly did the deed from a distance of just 10 meters and from behind the minister.
It has been reported that Yamagami planned the assault for a while and that the Prime Minister was one of two targets that the suspect had thought about killing. It has also been revealed that Yamagami had been present at the Prime Minister’s speaking engagement the day before in Okayama. He had apparently been scouting the perfect spot for the assassination.
It has also been reported that Yamagami arrived at the venue long before the Prime Minister did and took up the perfect position in a spot that eventually turned out to be behind the Prime Minister’s speaking podium. Shinzo Abe and the security personnel around him were blissfully unaware of the assailant’s plans which were carried out to perfection.
A few minutes after the Prime Minister had begun speaking, Yamagami casually walked up behind him and fired three times into his back. Pandemonium erupted, but Yamagami was unfazed. He was promptly tackled by stunned security operatives present. The assassin had reportedly made no attempt to flee the scene of the crime but had dropped his weapon and meekly surrendered to the police.
Shinzo Abe went into cardiac arrest as a result of the wounds he sustained from the gunshots from Yamagami’s gun and was hastily rushed to the hospital. He didn’t make it and was declared dead a few hours after he was shot. Yamagami has since remained in Nara Police Department custody and is, awaiting trial.
He Harbored Resentment Against The Prime Minister
Even before Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was confirmed dead, the police launched an investigation into the events that led to the killing of one of the nation’s most beloved leaders. First of all, they had to find answers to the question of how a country that had a very low record of gun violence could experience such a violent occurrence.
To answer the question, the police have had to review their security protocols and compare them to a similar protocol utilized during the Prime Minister’s previous visit to the region. Another question that the police needed answers to was the suspect’s motives for murdering the Prime Minister.
As earlier stated, Tetsuya Yamagami harbored a lot of resentment against a religious organization responsible for bankrupting his mother during the early 2000s. The organization in question is known globally as the Unification Church.
His initial plan was to take out the leader of the organization, who he blamed for leading his mother down the wrong path, which in turn made her tear apart the unity of the family with her overzealous financial commitment to the organization. A spokesperson for the organization denied any involvement with Yamagami but acknowledged the fact that his mother had been a registered member of the religious group since 1990.
The religious group’s spokesperson also revealed that Tetsuya Yamagami’s mother only became regular with her attendance in the months leading up to the drastic incident. Records show that Yamagami’s mother had filed for bankruptcy in 2002 and that she had done so after regularly making relatively large donations to the religious group.
When the religious group was contacted for comment on the donations, they made it clear that all donations were willful and that none of the donations it received from its donors were coerced subtly or otherwise.
The group further condemned the actions of Yamagami while stating that it was disgusted with the way events had unfolded and the unofficial connection of the Unification Church to it. The group, however, refused to disclose the rather confidential details of the donation made by Yamagami’s mother.
Further interrogation of Yamagami revealed that he also harbored deep-seated resentment for not just Shinzo Abe but towards his, the former Prime Minister’s grandfather as well. Shinzo Abe’s grandfather was also a former Japanese Prime Minister named Nobushi Kishi. Yamagami told investigators that killing Abe was a way to get back at his grandfather for helping to promote the interests of the Unification Church. He also faulted Abe for endorsing the activities of the religious group.
Tetsuya Yamagami Killed Shinzo Abe with a Homemade Gun
Tetsuya Yamagami carried out his assassination plot on Shinzo Abe with a gun he had manufactured in his home. The uniqueness of the gun-like item, which was described as having two cylindrical metal barrels wrapped in black tape, and measuring 40 centimeters long and 20 centimeters wide, made the police curious and led to a further search of the suspect’s apartment.
At the end of the search, several other similar gun-like weapons, with some of them having as many as five or six iron pipes, all wrapped in black tape. The bullets he had used to carry out his sinister plot had been procured online, and the suspect further revealed that he had watched YouTube videos on how to put together the weapon. One would also think that his military background played a huge part in the expertise with which the weapons were assembled.
Further investigation revealed wooden boards with bullet holes in Yamagami’s car which pointed to the fact that the suspect had meticulously planned the assassination. When he was prodded for answers, he confirmed the authorities’ suspicions by revealing that he had embarked on shooting practice in the mountains days before carrying out his plans.
Yamagami was also the prime suspect in the shooting against the building of an unnamed group in the early hours of July 7, one day before the assassination of the Prime Minister.
He Initially Planned to Kill the Prime Minister with a Bomb
In the aftermath of the Prime Minister’s assassination, local authorities used very effective methods to extract more information from Abe’s killer. Yamagami claimed that the gun he used to kill the Prime Minister was a second-choice weapon. His weapon of choice was explosives, but perhaps, it was a weapon that would not have been too effective.
He also expanded on the earlier assumption and findings that he had planned to execute his carefully staged plot in Okayama, which was only 3 hours from Nara, the actual place where the incident happened. According to Yamagami, he was handicapped by the admission procedures he witnessed at the entrance of the event center and reconsidered his position based on the difficulty he envisaged.
Tetsuya Yamagami Has Been Charged with Murder
Tetsuya Yamagami has not only become the prime suspect in the Prime Minister’s murder, but he has also been charged with the murder of the Prime Minister. He is still detained at the Nara Nishi police station, a location which is near the site of the fatal shooting. Japan hands out strict punishments against crimes similar to the one committed by Tetsuya Yamagami, and at the end of the investigations, he may very well get the death penalty.
It should be noted that the attack happened during the week of the upper house elections, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida calls the actions of Yamagami barbaric, malicious, and intolerable. He further added that it was an act of brutality that happened during the elections, which are the very foundations of the country’s democracy and cannot be forgiven.
Tributes For The Slain Shinzo Abe Have Poured in From All Over The World
As soon as it was confirmed that Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister had been brutally murdered, tributes started pouring in from all over the world in honor of a leader who has been described as remarkable by many, not just in Japan but globally as well.
United States of America’s ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emmanuel, lauded Abe for being an outstanding Japanese leader and a stalwart US ally. South Korea and China haven’t necessarily been on good terms with Japan, but both sides, through South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol and Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, have vocally condemned the unacceptable act of crime.
Shinzo Abe, despite being the longest-serving Japanese Prime Minister, briefly in 2006 and then from 2012 to 2020, had his critics in and outside the country, but even his harshest critics and his followers have come together to condemn the despicable act of his killer and will no doubt work hard to ensure that justice is served to Tetsuya Yamagami and also prevent similar occurrences in the future.