According to local media on Saturday, the suspect in the alleged murder of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will have a mental health evaluation done. On July 8 in the western city of Nara, two days before the nation’s upper house elections, Abe was shot and killed while out campaigning. Tetsuya Yamagami, the man who is accused of killing Abe, is currently in detention and is said to have chosen Abe because he thought the former leader had ties to the Unification Church.
According to anonymous investigation sources cited by the Asahi Shimbun and other local media outlets, the Nara District Court on Friday granted permission for the local public prosecutor’s office to seek that 41-year-old Yamagami undergoes a psychiatric evaluation. According to the reports, the test should be finished by the end of November. The suspect will not be questioned further during the mental assessment. The assessment will be used by prosecutors to decide if Yamagami can be held criminally liable before deciding whether or not to indict him, according to the reports.
Abe was the most well-known politician in Japan, and even after stepping down in 2020 because of health issues, he continued to play a significant role in society. He was also a controversial character who was accused of favouritism and criticised for his ardent nationalist sentiments. Officials from the prosecution and the court could not be reached right away to confirm the reports from the local media.
(with inputs from agencies)