In the wake of the political assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, his conservative party increased its majority in the Senate on Sunday.
The ruling coalition of Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the right-wing Komeito party will receive between 69 and 83 of the 125 Senate seats that were up for grabs on Sunday, according to exit polls. The current Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, is strengthening his position as a result.
In a victory speech, Kishida said he wanted to act quickly against the rising cost of living, partly because imported goods are quickly becoming more expensive. It may be easier for him to push through plans to restart nuclear power plants that were shut down ten years ago after the Fukushima disaster. He also wants to spend more money on defense.
The attack: how and why?
Meanwhile, the debate over Friday’s assassination attempt on Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, continues. Two questions: how could such a thing happen, and why? On Saturday, the Nara district police chief said security was apparently not adequate. It is not uncommon in Japan, where the law makes it very difficult to obtain or possess firearms, for security to focus primarily on preventing direct physical attack. At Abe’s speech in the western city of Nara, security consisted of one specialized agent and an unspecified number of local agents.
The 41-year-old attacker, Tetsuya Yamagami, was immediately overpowered after he fired two shots at Abe on Friday. According to the police, he apparently made a double-barreled rifle himself. The weapon was made of wood and two metal tubes, wrapped with strong black tape.
A number of other homemade weapons and explosives were later found in the suspect’s home. Yamagami has been preparing his attack on Abe for months and would have wanted to carry out a bomb attack first, Japanese media have reported.
According to police, Yamagami was convinced that Abe had ties to an undisclosed religious sect and that the former prime minister was promoting it. Yamagami’s mother, he said, was financially ruined by a large donation to this group.
A version of this article also appeared in the newspaper of 11 July 2022
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