Japan PM Blames Police for Death of Former Leader Shinzo Abe

TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday blamed inadequate police protection for the death of former leader Shinzo Abe, who was shot while giving an outdoor campaign speech.

Abe, one of Japan’s most influential politicians, was assassinated last Friday in western Japan, shocking a nation known for its low crime rate. The gunman managed to get within striking distance of Abe, as shown by photos and video.

Kishida indicated that the National Public Safety Commission as well as National Police Agency officials are currently investigating and will be recommending measures.

“I urge them to fix what needs to be fixed, while also studying examples in other countries,” he said.

Kishida also announced plans to hold a state funeral for Abe later this year, noting his contributions at home and in boosting Japan’s security alliance with the United States.

Continue reading: Shinzo Abe Rewrote Japan’s Place in the World. And remained a power broker until the very end

A smaller funeral ceremony was held at a temple in Tokyo on Tuesday for Abe, whose nationalistic views drove the governing party’s conservative policies.

After Abe’s shooting on Friday, a suspect was immediately arrested and is currently being questioned. He told police and media that there was a link between Abe’s religious beliefs and the motive he shot the ex-prime minister.

The suspect, 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami, served briefly in Japan’s navy. According to reports, he was upset that his mother had made huge donations to the Unification Church which bankrupted his family.

Abe’s assassination has brought to light the links between the Liberal Democratic Party (governing party) and the Unification Church (respected for its anti-communist and conservative beliefs, and mass marriages).

The Japan branch of the South Korean-based church confirmed on Monday that Yamagami’s mother was a member and that Abe was not. Abe appears in videos messages for church affiliates.

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