(NewsGlobal.com)- The man who assassinated former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reportedly told authorities that he held a “grudge” against a religious group he believed the former prime minister had promoted.
Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, told police that his mother went bankrupt after she made a large donation to the Unification Church, commonly known as the “Moonies.”
According to police, the suspect blamed his mother’s financial hardship on the Moonies and planned to kill Abe based on the belief that the former prime minister was somehow linked to the Unification Church.
Last week, Tomihiro Tanaka, the president of the Unification Church in Japan confirmed that Yamagami’s mother is a member, but said neither the killer nor former Prime Minister Abe was a member.
Immediately after Abe’s assassination, several Japanese newspapers had reported that unnamed sources within the police had claimed Yamagami also wanted to kill the leader of an unnamed religious group but found it too difficult.
It was unclear if this religious group was the Unification Church. It was also unclear if Yamagami had intended to kill both Shinzo Abe and the leader of the group, or if he killed Abe instead of the leader of the group.
Last Monday, police in the city of Nara said they found bullet holes at a facility run by the Unification Church. Yamagami reportedly admitted to firing practice rounds the day before he fatally shot Abe in the chest and neck while the former prime minister was delivering a campaign speech in Nara.
Yamagami was an unemployed former member of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force who, according to police, spent months planning the attack. Police said Yamagami had shown up at other locations where Shinzo Abe was campaigning, including Okayama, a city more than 120 miles away from Nara.
According to reports, Yamagami initially considered using a bomb before settling on a homemade gun. During a search of his home after Yamagami’s arrest, police found explosives and homemade firearms, including some that were similar to the homemade gun used to kill Abe.