Preparatory phase of trial of Abe’s killer continues two years after assassination

Preparatory phase of trial of Abe’s killer continues two years after assassination
Preparatory phase of trial of Abe’s killer continues two years after assassination

Tokyo, Jul 8 (EFE).- Two years after the shooting of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, one of the most influential recent leaders in the Asian country, the preparatory stage and preliminary hearings for the trial of his assassin, Tetsuya Yamagami, continue, with no clear date yet for when his trial will begin.

Yamagami, 43, has been charged with murder and other charges in connection with the attack that killed the politician in the western Japanese city of Nara on July 8, 2022 while he was participating in an election event.

The prosecution and defense continue to hold preliminary hearings to discuss issues and evidence they hope to present during the trial. The most recent of these meetings took place on the 3rd with Yamagami himself in attendance.

Although two years have passed since the incident, the parties have not been able to agree on the extent of the points of contention and the defendant’s defense does not expect the first hearing of the trial to take place until at least 2025, but later, according to details collected by local public broadcaster NHK.

Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister (2012-2020), is believed to have been targeted by Yamagami for his alleged ties to the so-called Unification Church, a religious creed also known as the “Moon Sect,” according to his account.

Yamagami, who used a homemade firearm in the attack, said he developed a grudge against the religious group, known for its abusive fundraising practices, after his mother gave them large sums of money, ruining his life.

The incident brought to light the extensive and deep ties between this organisation, considered by some experts to be a sect, and the ruling party currently led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who forced him to carry out a ‘purge’ within his party after seeing his support ratings plummet.

One of the central questions of the trial is expected to be how severe Yamagami’s sentence should be given his personal circumstances.

The incident has put the spotlight back on the problems with the religious group and prompted more victims to come forward and file lawsuits against it, as well as leading the government to create an aid program and tighten its scrutiny of the organization.

Asked about the anniversary at a press conference, Japanese government spokesman Yoshimasa Hayashi on Monday expressed his regret over the “painful” incident and said: “The government will continue to work to help the victims” of the organisation.

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