Police Chief Accepts Responsibility in Abe's Death

Campaigning goes on as Japan prepares for election Sunday
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2022 5:50 PM CDT
Japan to Vote Sunday While Nation Mourns
A worker brings flowers to the residence of Shinzo Abe on Saturday.   (Kyodo News via AP)

Police in Japan struggled Saturday to answer for the flaws in their security plans to protect former prime minister Shinzo Abe, who was shot to death during a political appearance Friday. Even while questions mounted for police, funeral arrangements were made, the nation mourned, and campaigning went on, the New York Times reports: Japan has an election Sunday. Developments involved:

  • Questions: A former top Air Force official referred to video footage that appeared to show the killer walking unbothered past security officers. "How did the police, protective detail and other security not notice the criminal who approached with a gun from behind?" Toshio Tamogami tweeted. It's not clear whether security arrangements were the same as for a June 28 appearance by Abe in the same place. It's also unclear whether armed security officers were present, per the Washington Post.
  • The police response: "It is undeniable that there were problems in the security," said Nara Police Chief Tomoaki Onizuka. The National Police Agency said it will review security arrangements for Abe's appearance, which were set up by Nara police, per CNN, who noted that they had just a day's notice of the event. The chief said the department will identify the shortcomings and fix them. Still, in an emotional appearance at a press conference, Onizuka said he accepts responsibility for the failures. When he learned of the shooting, Onizuka said, "it was the height of the guilt and regret I've felt in my 27 years in law enforcement," adding, "I feel the weight of my responsibility."
  • The election: Loudspeaker vans rolled through streets Saturday displaying large photos of candidates, who posed for selfies with voters. Candidates from parties including Abe's made their final appeal for support. Voters at some events wept during the moments of silence to honor Abe. Akiko Ikuina, who's seeking a seat in the Upper House, told a crowd, "Those of us who are left behind must help make Mr. Abe’s vision for our country come true," crying as she spoke.
  • The funeral: Abe's remains were taken to Tokyo on Saturday, where a wake will be held Monday and a memorial service Tuesday, per CNN. The funeral will be hosted by his widow, Akie Abe, in a temple in Tokyo,
(Read more Shinzo Abe stories.)

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