The assassin of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is said to have originally targeted the leader of a religious group. The Japanese news agency Kyodo learned on Saturday from investigators that the 41-year-old Japanese man who had been arrested the day before had testified during the interrogation.
Neither the police nor Japan’s state-run media have so far wanted to name the group. However, the online magazine “Gendai Business” claims to have learned from investigative circles that this is the controversial Unification Church of the late Korean sect founder San Myung Mun.
The day before, the man had shot Abe from behind with a homemade gun from a distance of three meters while he was giving a campaign speech in the city of Nara. As Kyodo reported on Sunday, citing investigative circles, the 41-year-old former marine tried to build a bomb. Police found explosives and homemade firearms in his apartment.
After his arrest, he reportedly said he acted out of hatred for a religious group that supported Abe. His mother donated large sums of money to the religious organization, which ruined it.
Also known as the Mun Sect, the Unification Church has members in many countries, including Japan, and supports conservative political causes. Politicians like former US President Donald Trump and Abe are considered friendly towards her.
Mun, who was strongly anti-Communist, founded it in 1954. Thanks to a devoted following, he built a corporate empire that made him a billionaire. He was known for grand performances, which included mass weddings. There had previously been speculation on Japan’s social media that the Abe assassin could have meant this group. There is no confirmation for this.
According to media reports, the confessed assassin denied that he acted out of resentment against Abe’s political beliefs. Originally he wasn’t even aiming for the right-wing conservative politician, but for a leader of the religious group.
The assassination had caused horror all over the world. Chinese President Xi Jinping also sent his condolences to the country. “On behalf of the Chinese government and people, and on his own behalf, Xi Jinping has expressed his heartfelt condolences over the untimely death of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe,” Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported on Saturday. The President also condoled Abe’s family. Xi was “deeply saddened” by the death of the former prime minister.
Abe served as Prime Minister of Japan from 2006 to 2007 and then from 2012 to 2020. He was Japan’s longest-serving prime minister.
Abe’s body has since been transferred to Tokyo. A hearse arrived at Abe’s home in the Japanese capital on Saturday. Television footage showed senior members of Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LPD) gathering to pay their last respects to the ex-Prime Minister.
According to Japanese media, a wake will be held for the former prime minister on Monday evening. His funeral should therefore take place on Tuesday in the closest circle.
Japan is considered one of the safest countries in the world and has extremely strict gun laws. The assassination happened shortly before elections to the upper house of the national parliament this Sunday. Despite the assassination, they should take place as planned, the government said.