Nara police chief personally takes responsibility for Abe's assassination

He apologised during a press conference.

Belmont Lay | July 11, 2022, 05:49 AM

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The police chief of the Japanese city of Nara said he “takes responsibility” for the assassination of former Japan prime minister Shinzo Abe.

Tomoaki Onizuka, head of the Nara prefectural police, apologised at a press conference on Saturday, July 9, Kyodo News reported.

Height of guilt and regret

“After the first report of the incident came at 11:30am, and the situation was revealed, it was the height of the guilt and regret I’ve felt in my 27 years in law enforcement,” Onizuka told reporters, CNN reported.

“I feel the weight of my responsibility,” an emotional Onizuka also said for failing to prevent the attack.

“As the regional police chief responsible for safety and security of the region, I took necessary steps and built structures for security and guarding,” he added.

“We can’t deny that there were problems with the security plan given how things ended."

Abe's back left open

Video of the assassination on Friday, July 8, suggested Abe's back was left open as he made a campaign speech ahead of Sunday’s parliamentary election.

A video of the incident showed Abe apparently unharmed after a first shot went off, and he only went down after he turned around and the second shot went off.

Abe, 67, was pronounced dead at 5:03pm local time on Friday, just over five hours after he was shot.

His alleged killer, Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, used a homemade firearm in the attack.

Yamagami was tackled and arrested at the scene.

Police are still investigating the motive for the killing.

Alleged killer met Abe the day before killing

Japan’s National Police Agency has announced it will review security arrangements that were in place, NHK reported.

Yamagami has also told police that on the eve of the deadly shooting, he went to a hall in the western city of Okayama, where Abe delivered a speech, according to the sources.

The rally attracted more than 2,000 people without a security check, but there were no problems, according to people involved in the event.

Two-day funeral

A funeral will be held over Monday and Tuesday, Abe’s office told CNN.

Despite the punishing heat and occasional heavy rain, thousands of people lined up at a spot in Nara close to the scene of the attack to pay their respects, with mourners leaving flowers, drinks and other items.

Top photo via Kyodo & Weibo