The 2.5 seconds that sealed Japanese Shinzo Abe’s fate | crime news

The 2.5 seconds that sealed Japanese Shinzo Abe's fate |  crime news
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Bodyguards could have saved former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe if they shielded him or removed him from the line of fire in the 2.5 seconds between a missed first shot and the second round of gunfire that mortally wounded him, according to eight security experts reviewing the footage the assassination of the former Japanese prime minister.

The failure to protect Abe from the second shot followed a series of security vulnerabilities leading up to the attack assassination from Japan senior leader on July 8, the Japanese and international experts said.

Abe’s assassination in the western city of Nara by a man with a homemade weapon shocked a nation where gun violence is rare and politicians fight close to the people with little certainty.

Japanese authorities – including Prime Minister Fumio Kishida – have confirmed this security expiresand shelves say they investigate.

In addition to the security experts, the Reuters news agency spoke to six witnesses at the scene and examined several videos available online from different angles to compile a detailed account of the security measures taken before his shooting.

After 67-year-old Abe was exposed from behind while speaking on a traffic island on a public highway, his security detail allowed the attacker – identified by police as Tetsuya Yamagami, 41 – to approach uncontrollably and point a gun at Abe, the footage shown.

“They should have seen the attacker deliberately move towards the PM’s back and intervened,” said Kenneth Bombace, the head of Global Threat Solutions, which provided security for Joe Biden as a presidential candidate.

Shinzo Abe, in a dark suit and white shirt, speaks to a group of people at an informal campaign stop in Nara
Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was speaking at a campaign rally on a Nara street when he was shot dead [File: The Asahi Shimbun/via Reuters]

Yamagami got within about twenty feet of Abe before firing his first shot, which missed, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said, citing investigative sources. He fired the second shot, which fell about five meters away, he said.

Abe’s bodyguards did not appear to have “concentric security rings” around them, said John Soltys, a former Navy SEAL and CIA officer now vice president of security firm Prosegur. “They had no surveillance whatsoever in the crowd.”

Asked about the experts’ analysis, Nara Prefectural Police, in charge of security at Abe’s campaign stop, told Reuters in a statement the department was “obligated to thoroughly identify the security issues” and declined to comment further .

Video footage showed Abe turning and looking over his left shoulder after the first shot. Two bodyguards wedged themselves between him and the assailant, one hefting a slim black bag. Two more walked toward the gunman, who was closing in through the smoke.

Although Abe’s security forces attacked and arrested the attacker moments later, pursuing the attacker rather than protecting Abe was the “wrong reaction” for some of the security forces, said Mitsuru Fukuda, a professor specializing in crisis management and terrorism at the Nihon University. university .

There was enough security, “but no sense of danger,” said Yasuhiro Sasaki, a retired police officer in Saitama Prefecture near Tokyo who was in charge of VIP security. “Everyone was scared and no one went where Abe was.”

Tokyo police, which is responsible for bodyguards of VIP politicians, referred questions to Nara police.

The National Police Agency, which oversees local police forces, said Abe’s killing was the result of police failure to meet their responsibilities and said it had deployed a team to review safety and security measures and took concrete steps to prevent one so serious incident to consider from recurring.

“We recognize that there were issues not only in the on-site response, such as safety and security setup, deployment of personnel and basic safety procedures, but also in the way the National Police Agency was involved,” it said in response to Reuters questions.

Reuters could not reach Yamagami, who remains in police custody, for comment and was unable to determine if he had a lawyer.

“Could have been avoided”

According to Koichi Ito, a former sergeant with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department’s special attack team and now a national security adviser, the footage shows four bodyguards inside the guard rails while Abe spoke. Their number was confirmed by local politician Masahiro Okuni, who was at the scene.

As the former premier spoke up, Yamagami could be seen on video footage in the background clapping.

When Yamagami came up behind Abe, security didn’t seem to step in, the footage showed.

Abe should have had a dedicated close protection bodyguard to take him away, said a member of the US Diplomatic Security Service, which protects senior diplomats and foreign dignitaries.

“We would grab him by the belt and collar, protect him with our bodies and move away,” the agent said.

Katsuhiko Ikeda, a former superintendent general of Tokyo Police who headed security for Japan’s G8 summit in 2000 and 2008, said the situation would have turned out very differently if Abe’s security detail had been close enough to reach him in a second or two .

Ito, the former police sergeant, said security could have stopped the first shot if they had been vigilant and communicated.

“Even if they missed that, there was a window of more than two seconds before the second shot, so they definitely could have prevented that,” he said. “If Abe had been protected properly, it could have been avoided.”

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