Suspect in former Japanese PM Abe's murder starts psychiatric detention

Tetsuya Yamagami's psychiatric detention will continue for about four months through Nov 29. PHOTO: REUTERS

NARA (THE JAPAN NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Psychiatric detention started Monday (July 25) for Tetsuya Yamagami, who is suspected of fatally shooting former prime minister Shinzo Abe, after he was transferred from the Nara Nishi Police Station in Nara City to the Osaka Detention House in Osaka City.

Yamagami, 41, allegedly killed Mr Abe in Nara City while he was making a campaign speech for the Upper House election on July 8.

Prosecutors believe Yamagami's mental condition at the time of the crime is a factor, and whether he can be held criminally responsible needs to be examined.

The psychiatric detention will continue for about four months through Nov 29.

Yamagami's original detention period was scheduled to end on July 29, but this has been temporarily suspended while he undergoes a psychiatric analysis by experts.

According to investigative sources, Yamagami, a former member of the Maritime Self-Defence Force, prepared a homemade gun and gunpowder and checked Mr Abe's schedule before attacking him.

He has told investigators that he held a grudge against the religious group widely known as the Unification Church because his family's life was destroyed after his mother became a member of the group.

Yamagami also said he targeted Mr Abe because he thought the former prime minister had connections to the group, which is now officially called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.

Yamagami has spoke logically during questioning, said a senior investigator.

"His memory is clear and there are no changes in his statements," the investigator said.

"So far, our efforts to corroborate his statements haven't found anything that contradicts them."

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