Tetsuya Yamagami thought Shinzo Abe was linked to a religious group

The man accused of shooting Shinzo Abe believed the former Japanese prime minister was linked to a religious group he accused of breaking up his family and bankrupting his mother, police said.

Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, told police his original intention was to attack the leader of the group – whom authorities declined to name, The Guardian reported.

“My mother ended up in a religious group and I resented it,” Kyodo news agency and other media quoted him as saying to the police.

Shinzo Abe’s suspected assassin, Tetsuya Yamagami, believed the former Japanese prime minister was linked to a religious group, police say.
Photo by Franck Robichon – Piscine/Getty Images

Japan’s longest-serving prime minister was killed Friday during a campaign stop near a train station in the western city of Nara. Yamagami was arrested at the scene, brandishing a homemade weapon.

Initial reports said Yamagami believed Abe was tied to a “specific organization” but did not describe his religious nature. The group has not been named.

Police also revealed that Yamagami, an unemployed former member of Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force, spent months planning the attack and hit other places where Abe campaigned, including the town of Okayama more than 120 miles from Nara on Thursday. He told police he did not target the politician because he disagreed with his policy.

Yamagami allegedly shot and killed Abe with a homemade weapon in Nara, Japan on July 8, 2022.
Yamagami allegedly shot and killed Abe with a homemade weapon in Nara, Japan on July 8, 2022.
Nara Shimbun/Kyodo News via AP
Yamagami allegedly believed that Abe was the leader of an anonymous religious group that broke up his family and bankrupted his mother.
Yamagami allegedly believed that Abe was the leader of an anonymous religious group that broke up his family and bankrupted his mother.
Katsuhiko Hirano/The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP

Yamagami had considered a bombing before deciding on a gun, according to public broadcaster NHK. During a search of his home on Friday, police found items believed to be explosives and homemade firearms, including weapons similar to the weapon used in the attack, according to Kyodo News.

Abe’s body returned home to Tokyo on Saturday as the country continued to receive condolences from world leaders. Elections for the country’s upper house remain scheduled for Sunday, with Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party expected to perform well.

The country’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida, is a protege of Abe and paid tribute to the ousted leader at his home on Saturday.

With pole wires