Japan prosecutors indict Yamagami for murder of ex-Prime Minister Abe


Japanese prosecutors on Friday indicted the man suspected of killing former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a local district court said on Friday.

Nara District Public Prosecutors Office indicted Tetsuya Yamagami, 42, on murder charges as well as for violating gun laws, a spokesperson at Nara district court said.

The indictment came after concluding a roughly six-month psychiatric evaluation, according to local media.

In a crime that shocked the world, Yamagami had been arrested on the spot on July 8 after allegedly shooting Abe with a handmade gun while the former premier was giving a speech at an election campaign in the western city of Nara.

He reportedly held a grudge against the Unification Church for impoverishing his family, saying it persuaded his mother to donate around 100 million yen ($774,700), and blamed Abe for promoting the religious organisation.

The Unification Church was founded in South Korea in 1954 and famous for its mass weddings, relying on its Japanese followers as a key source of income.

The killing shed light on evidence to reveal deep and longstanding relations between the church and Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmakers.

The LDP has denied any organisational link to the church but has acknowledged that many lawmakers have ties to the religious group.

The approval rate for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's government had fallen to record lows amid revelations about connections between the church and many LDP lawmakers.

The premier replaced ministers with ties to the church from his cabinet in August and the persistent uproar over links to the church forced the resignation of his economic revitalisation minister in October.

In November, Japan launched a probe into the church that could threaten its legal status following the assassination of Abe.

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