Police likely to refer Abe's alleged killer to prosecutors over homemade guns

NHK has learned that Japanese police likely will refer the man accused of fatally shooting former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo to prosecutors for allegedly illegally manufacturing and using firearms.

Police have been investigating Yamagami Tetsuya, a 42-year-old unemployed resident of Nara City, on suspicion of murder.

Abe was gunned down while making a speech during an election campaign in Nara City in July last year.

Investigative sources say police have examined a homemade gun used in the shooting and determined it is a gun proscribed by law.

Police seized at least five other handcrafted guns of similar design from Yamagami's home.

The suspect told police that a day before the shooting, he had conducted test firings targeting a building housing the religious group widely known as the Unification Church. What appeared to be bullet holes were found in the wall of a company next to the building.

The sources say police will likely send papers on the suspect to prosecutors for violating the Firearms and Swords Control Law and the Ordnance Manufacturing Law.

The suspect is currently undergoing psychiatric evaluation, and prosecutors have judged that he can be held criminally culpable.

Prosecutors plan to indict him on charges of murdering Abe by January 13, when his detention expires.