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Suspect Tetsuya Yamagami sent a letter to a blogger alluding to Abe’s murder

TOKYO (THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – The suspect in the fatal shooting of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a letter implying he would kill Mr Abe to a blogger who had criticized the religious group widely known as the name Unification Church.

Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, sent the letter from Okayama City to the blogger who lives in the Chugoku area.

The letter expresses Yamagami’s strong resentment towards the group officially called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, of which Yamagami’s mother is a member, and states that Mr. Abe “is not his original enemy”.

Nara Prefectural Police are aware of the letter and intend to investigate how their resentment towards the group was directed at Mr Abe.

The former prime minister was speaking in Okayama on the evening of July 7, the day before his assassination in Nara. Yamagami drove to the location of Mr. Abe’s speech but did not attack him at the time.

The postmark time on the letter indicates that the letter may have been posted on the way to the venue.

The letter was printed on a sheet of A4 paper. He did not give the name of the sender, but the envelope also contained a copy of an agreement reached when the religious group returned 50 million yen (S$505,094), part of his mother’s donations, to the Yamagami family.

Yamagami’s full name and address at the time was also on the agreement.

The man who received Yamagami’s letter maintains a blog that criticizes the activities of the religious group.

Yamagami revealed in the letter that he was a reader of the blog and wrote about his journey saying, “My feud with the Unification Church goes back about 30 years.”

He added: “I thought of him bitterly, but he is not my original enemy. Abe is only one of the most influential supporters of the Unification Church in the real world.

“I have no time left to think about the political sense and consequences that would result from Abe’s death.”

Yamagami told investigators he targeted Mr Abe because he believed the former prime minister was linked to the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification. Police believe he may have tried to elicit criticism from the group by killing Mr Abe.

The man who received the letter operates the blog under his own name and provided his address. He never met Yamagami, but the letter stated that Yamagami was a reader and posted in the comments section.