To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Alleged killer of former Japanese Prime Minister says his life was destroyed by mother's religion

Alleged killer of former Japanese Prime Minister says his life was destroyed by mother's religion

Suspect Tetsuya Yamagami says his life was destroyed by his mother's huge donations to the Unification Church

The alleged killer of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said his life was destroyed by his mother’s religion, after her hefty donations to the church bankrupted his family. 

Abe, 67, was fatally wounded after being shot while speaking at a political campaign event in Nara, the capital city of Japan’s Nara Prefecture on 8 July.

The gunman had been able to walk up behind Abe and shoot him with a homemade gun, leaving the former leader with two bullet wounds to his neck, along with fatal damage to his heart. 

The suspect, Tetsuya Yamagami, was arrested at the scene and admitted to the shooting - and is now being detained for mental evaluation until late November. 

Tetsuya Yamagami.

According to the Associated Press, Yamagami had previously expressed a hatred toward the Unification Church - which was founded in South Korea in 1954 - on social media. Since the 1980s, the church has been accused of underhand recruitment practices and allegedly brainwashing people into making huge donations.

After his mother joined the Unification Church, she began making big donations that bankrupted the family and shattered Yamagami’s hope of going to college. 

In a letter seen by the AP, along with tweets believed to be his, Yamagami said his family and life were destroyed by the church because of such donations made by his mother, bankrupting them as well as shattering his hopes of going to college. 

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Kremlin Pool/Alamy Stock Photo

Writing to a Japanese blogger the day before he allegedly assassinated Abe, he said in the letter: “After my mother joined the church (in the 1990s), my entire teenage years were gone, with some 100 million yen ($735,000) wasted."

“It’s not an exaggeration to say my experience during that time has kept distorting my entire life.” 

Police confirmed a draft of Yamagami’s letter was found in a computer that was confiscated from his apartment. 

Yamagami was four when his father killed himself – with his brother later doing the same. His uncle has previously told the media that Yamagami’s mother donated 60 million yen ($440,000) within months of joining the Unification Church, saying he eventually had to stop giving her cash for food and school for the children because she kept giving it to the church instead. 

According to the AP, more than 7,000 people have signed a petition requesting prosecutorial leniency for Yamagami, who has claimed he killed Abe because of his ties to an unnamed religious group, widely believed to be the Unification Church. 

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected] 

Featured Image Credit: Eddeutsche Zeitung Photo/Newscom/Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: World News, Crime