- The Washington Times
Saturday, July 9, 2022

The police chief of the prefecture where former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated this week said he bears responsibility for his death.

Nara Prefectural police Chief Tomoaki Onizuka said Mr. Abe‘s security personnel followed the lead of the plan he put forward, and he “takes responsibility” for his killing.

“I feel the weight of my responsibility,” Mr. Onizuka said at the Saturday press conference.

He added: “After the first report of the incident came at 11:30 a.m., and the situation was revealed, it was the height of the guilt and regret I’ve felt in my 27 years in law enforcement.”

Mr. Abe, 67, died after being shot by a gunman who opened fire on him while he was making a speech in broad daylight. 

The 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami shot Mr. Abe with a homemade gun, and police have accused him of holding a grudge against him because he believed he had belonged to a specific organization he disliked.

Mr. Abe was pronounced dead on Friday, after five hours of emergency medical procedures. 

He was speaking in support of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party when the incident took place. Japanese Upper House elections are still scheduled to commence on Sunday.

The death of Mr. Abe, who had been the country’s longest-serving prime minister, came as a shock. Japan has among the lowest gun violence rates in the world. 

The country also has strict laws regulating civilian gun ownership.

President Biden said he was “stunned, outraged, and deeply saddened” about Mr. Abe‘s death.

“The United States stands with Japan in this moment of grief,” Mr. Biden said. “I send my deepest condolences to his family.”

• Mica Soellner can be reached at msoellner@washingtontimes.com.

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