Japan Police Chief Takes Responsibility for Shinzo Abe's Assassination

Report found holes in Abe's police protection, and he's stepping down
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2022 1:05 PM CDT
Updated Aug 25, 2022 5:49 AM CDT
Shinzo Abe Could Have Been Saved in 2.5-Second Gap
Police inspect the site where former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was fatally shot in Nara, western Japan, July 8, 2022.   (Kyodo News via AP)

Update: Japan's national police chief is taking responsibility for the assassination of Shinzo Abe by stepping down. The National Police Agency on Thursday released a report regarding its failure to protect Abe and the holes it found in Abe's police protection. Chief Itaru Nakamura announced his resignation the same day, the AP reports. "In order to fundamentally reexamine guarding and never to let this happen, we need to have a new system,” Nakamura said. Our original story from July 19 follows:

The first shot missed. That critical fact regarding the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should have been enough to save him, according to an extensive analysis of the killing by Reuters. The reason? There was a gap of 2.5 seconds before the gunman got off his second—and fatal—shot, which should have been enough time for bodyguards to shield Abe or pull him out of the way, security experts tell the outlet. Instead, two of the bodyguards went directly toward the gunman, not Abe, which was the "wrong response," a Nihon University crisis management expert tells the outlet.

"We would grab him by the belt and collar, shield him with our body, and move away," adds an agent with the US Diplomatic Security Service. The analysis also finds fault with the general security setup before the shooting. Footage shows the gunman in the background clapping as Abe stepped up to speak. As the gunman began walking toward Abe, none of the bodyguards appeared to take action. He fired the first shot from a distance of about 22 feet and the second from about 16 feet. "They should have seen the attacker very deliberately walking towards the rear of the prime minister and intervened," Kenneth Bombace, head of Global Threat Solutions, tells Reuters.

story continues below

"Concentric rings of security" around Abe also would have helped, as would have surveillance in the crowd, says John Soltys, a former CIA agent now with the Prosegur security firm. Japanese authorities continue to investigate the killing. Meanwhile, prosecutors have obtained court permission to keep suspect Tetsuya Yamagami detained as they continue to work toward filing formal charges, reports the AP. (The suspect apparently believed Abe was a supporter of the controversial Unification Church, which he blames for his family's financial troubles.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.