Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, was unemployed and had served in the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) for three years until 2005, according to police.
He was arrested in the Japanese city of Nara where he allegedly shot Abe, who was delivering a campaign speech ahead of the July 10 upper house election.
Yamagami, when apprehended, admitted his intention to kill Abe whom he believed was connected to a religious organization that had bankrupted his family, The Asahi Shimbun reported, citing investigative sources.
“My family joined that religion and our life became harder after donating money to the organization,” Yamagami was quoted as saying by the sources.
The suspect told investigators that he initially targeted the organization’s leader, “but it was difficult,” so he decided to change target.
“I took aim at Abe since I believed that he was tied [to the organization]. I wanted to kill him,” he said. Yamagami also admitted that he attempted to make explosives.
An unnamed source, who was identified as Yamagami’s relative in the report, said the suspect’s family “fell apart” because of the religious group, and that he was “convinced that Yamagami suffered damage from the organization.”
The suspect used a handmade gun measuring 40 centimeters in length and 20 centimeters in height. Police also found similar guns, explosives, and cylindrical objects during searches at Yamagami’s apartment in Nara.
Yamagami had previously worked as a dispatched staff worker for multiple companies after resigning from MSDF. He started working at a manufacturing company in the Kansai region in 2020 but left in May for health reasons.