Tetsuya Yamagami, who shot and killed former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last July 8th, originally planned to attack another person. This was reported by the Kyodo agency. During questioning after the attack on Abe, the man admitted that he had originally planned an attack on the head of a certain religious organization, but later decided to kill Abe because he believed that the former Japanese prime minister was also affiliated with that religious group.
Explosives were found at home of gunman who killed Shinzo Abe. Japanese police searched the home of the gunman who was then detained for killing former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last Friday.
Police are not releasing the name of the religious organization at this time. Earlier, a source familiar with the investigation also confirmed that Yamagami explained his attack on Shinzo Abe by the fact that he considered the former prime minister to be sympathetic to a certain religious group. According to the killer, Abe belonged to the religious organization that caused the Yamagami family to face serious financial problems. “My mother was drawn into this group, she made a big donation to it, because of which our family’s life went downhill,” the killer says during the interrogation. So far, the police have refrained from commenting so as not to interfere with the investigation.
But let us see the expert’s opinion in the article “Abe’s Assassination: An Anti-Cult Hate Crime?” by Massimo Introvigne, founder and managing director of the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), an international network of scholars who study new religious movements.
“A simple look at how the Japanese media discussed the Unification Church and the FFWPU, not only after Abe’s assassination but also before, shows that their coverage was predominantly hostile and sometimes verged on the insult. They offered a tribune to apostate ex members and greedy lawyers who tried to persuade relatives of those who had donated to the Unification Church to sue asking to recover the money. It is of course possible that donations, as it happens in many religious organizations (including some part of the mainline), were solicited in a pushy manner. However, the greedy lawyers did win some cases but lost others, and stereotyping the Unification movement as a “cult” went well beyond the technicalities of these cases (and ignored pushy donation techniques within mainline religions).
Of course, I am not suggesting that media anti-cult coverage of the Unification Church in Japan (which continues after Abe’s assassination and influences the media of other countries) produced the crime. After all, millions did read the same articles and did not kill anybody. If I learned something in dealing at an institutional level with hate speech, is that it does not persuade stable minds to commit crimes. For this reason, it may be easily regarded as inoffensive. A wrong conclusion, because weak minds also exist, and the effect of hate speech on them may be devastating.
While some media instill in their readers the idea that the Unification Church may be somewhat responsible for what happened, in fact what may have influenced the unstable mind of Yamagami may have been precisely the media anti-cult campaigns, and the hate speech directed for years at the Unification Church.”