Police investigating the assassination of Japan’s ex-prime minister Shinzo Abe have said the suspect held a grudge against a “specific organisation”.
The alleged gunman, named as Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, believed Abe was part of the group and shot him for that reason, they said, without naming the group.
Abe died in hospital on Friday morning after being shot while speaking at a political campaign event.
Tetsuya Yamagami has admitted shooting him with a homemade gun, police said.
Abe was Japan’s longest-serving prime minister and his death at the age of 67 has profoundly shocked a country where gun crime is very rare.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he was “simply speechless” at the news of Abe’s death, vowing that Japan’s democracy would “never yield to violence”.
Police are still investigating whether his killer acted alone and why Abe was targeted out of other people related to the unnamed organisation.
Abe was giving a speech for a political candidate at a road junction in the southern city of Nara when the attacker struck from behind.
Witnesses described a man carrying a large gun move within a few metres of Abe and fire twice at the former PM, who fell to the ground as bystanders screamed in shock and disbelief.
Photos circulating in the aftermath of the shooting showed the suspect standing just behind Abe as he gave his speech.
Security officers dived on to the gunman who made no attempt to run after he fired on Abe.
The weapon that killed the politician was made using metal and wood, officers said, and appeared to be wrapped in duct tape.
Several other handmade guns and explosives were later found at the suspect’s home.
Abe suffered two bullet wounds to his neck during the attack and also suffered damage to his heart.
He was said to be conscious and responsive in the minutes after the attack, but doctors said no vital signs were detected by the time the former prime minister was transferred for treatment.
Medics worked for hours to save him and Abe received more than 100 units of blood in transfusions, before he was pronounced dead at 5:03 p.m. local time. (BBC)