Tetsuya Yamagami, an unemployed 41-year-old, has been identified by police as the suspect, who opened fire with a handmade gun at former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe on July 8.

A court in Nara in western Japan, where the suspect lived and the shooting occurred, granted prosecutors' request that Yamagami be held for psychiatric examination, local media reported.
A court in Nara in western Japan, where the suspect lived and the shooting occurred, granted prosecutors' request that Yamagami be held for psychiatric examination, local media reported. (John Thys / File / AFP)

The man accused of assassinating Japan's former prime minister Shinzo Abe is set to undergo an examination of his mental condition around the time of the incident, local media have reported.

On Friday, the Nara District Court approved a request by the local public prosecutors' office for a psychiatric examination of the suspect, the Asahi Shimbun and other local media reported, citing unnamed investigative sources.

Abe was gunned down on the campaign trail on July 8 in the western city of Nara, two days before the country's upper house elections.

His accused killer Tetsuya Yamagami is in custody and reportedly targeted Abe because he believed the former leader was linked to the Unification Church.

The examination is expected to wrap up in late November, the reports said.

Investigative questioning of the 41-year-old Yamagami will be halted during the mental examination.

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Prosecutors will determine whether the suspect can bear criminal liability based on the examination before making a decision on whether to indict him, the reports said.

Abe was Japan's best-known politician, maintaining a prominent place in public life even after resigning in 2020 for health reasons.

He was also a divisive figure who faced cronyism allegations and was criticised for his staunch nationalist views.

Prosecution and court officials could not immediately be reached to confirm the local media reports.

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Source: AFP