Society | Jan 23

First Appearance of Abe's Shooter in Pre-trial Hearing

NARA, Jan 23 (News On Japan) - A second "pre-trial hearing" was conducted on Tuesday in preparation for the trial of Tetsuya Yamagami, who appeared for the first time, charged with the murder of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, shot in Nara in July 2022.

The 43-year-old defendant is expected to be tried by a lay judge system, and the second pre-trial hearing began just after 10 AM at the Nara District Court to narrow down evidence and points of contention before the trial, with Yamagami himself attending for the first time.

According to those involved, the procedure, which involved exchanges between the court, the prosecution, and the defense lawyers was completed in about 30 minutes. The schedule for future proceedings has not yet been determined.

During the investigation, the defendant reportedly confessed to committing the crime after harboring a grudge against the former Unification Church, to which his mother had made substantial donations. In the trial, the severity of the sentence is expected to be a point of contention, taking into account the defendant's circumstances and background.

The first procedure was abruptly canceled due to a suspicious incident involving a cardboard box delivered to the court, which led to the bomb disposal unit of the police being called in on June 12 last year, resulting in the procedure being abruptly canceled. As the defendant had indicated his intention to attend that day, the Nara District Court had installed a gate-style metal detector at the main entrance, and the police were also on alert in the vicinity.

The contents of the delivered cardboard box turned out to be a petition calling for a lighter sentence for the defendant, but the incident led to the postponement of the first procedure until October of the same year. According to the defense team, at that time, the defendant expressed relief that it was not an explosive and said, "I need to think carefully about whether to attend the procedure after causing such a commotion." The first procedure was eventually held on October 13 last year without the defendant's attendance, making this the first time he has attended.

For the second procedure, the Nara District Court was under tight security, limiting people's entry and exit to one point at the front entrance and checking the belongings of each person entering and exiting through a metal detector. On Tuesday morning, the defendant attended, and a car believed to be carrying the defendant entered the court before 9:30 AM without incident.

Source: NHK


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