Shinzo Abe could have been saved in 2.5-second window of shooting: security experts – National

Bodyguard may have saved Shinzo Abe According to eight security experts who reviewed footage of the assassination of the former Japanese leader, if they shielded him or took him out of the line of fire in the 2.5 seconds between the first shot that missed and the second salvo. two injured him.

The failure to protect Abe from a second shot followed what appeared to be a series of security lapses that led to the assassination. Japanese Japanese and international experts said their longest tenure was on July 8.

The death of Abe by a man with a homemade weapon in the western city of Nara has shocked a country where gun violence is rare and politicians campaign near the public. with light security mode.

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Japanese authorities – including Prime Minister Fumio Kishida – have acknowledged the security loopholes and police say they are investigating.

In addition to security experts, Reuters spoke to six witnesses at the scene and reviewed numerous videos available online, shot from different angles, to compile details of security measures before he said that he was not authorized to speak to Reuters. we shoot.

After letting 67-year-old Abe be seen from behind as he spoke on a traffic island on a public road, his security details allowed the shooter – identified by police as 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami – arrived within meters when Abe was unchecked, armed with a weapon, the footage shows.

Kenneth Bombace, head of Global Threat Solutions, which provided security to Joe Biden when he was a presidential candidate, said: “They should have seen the attacker intentionally go to the back of the prime minister. generals and intervention.

Yamagami arrived about seven meters from Abe before firing the first shot but missed, the Yomiuri newspaper said, citing investigative sources. He fired a second shot, on target, at a distance of 5 meters, it said.

John Soltys, a former Navy SEAL and CIA officer and now vice president of security firm Prosegur, said Abe’s bodyguards did not appear to have a “concentric ring of security” around him. “They don’t have any form of surveillance in the crowd.”

Asked about the experts’ analysis, the Nara Prefectural Police, in charge of security for Abe’s campaign stop, told Reuters in a statement that the ministry was “committed to thoroughly identifying security issues.” ” in Abe’s defense, declined to comment further.

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Click to play video: 'The world reacts to the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe'

The world reacts to the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

The world reacts to the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – July 8, 2022

The video shows that, after the first shot, Abe turns around and looks over his left shoulder. Two bodyguards scrambled between him and the shooter, one lifting a thin black bag. Two others moved toward the shooter, who moved closer through the smoke.

Mitsuru Fukuda, a Nihon University professor specializing in crisis management and counter-terrorism, said that although Abe’s security managed to tackle the attackers shortly after and arrest him, it was “the response.” mistake” of some security when chasing the shooter instead of moving to protect Abe. .

There’s enough security, “but there’s no sense of danger,” said Yasuhiro Sasaki, a retired policeman in Saitama prefecture near Tokyo who is in charge of security for VIPs. “Everybody was startled and no one went to where Abe was.”

The Tokyo police, in charge of VIP politicians’ bodyguards, referred the question to the Nara police.

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The National Police Agency, which oversees the local police force, said Abe’s killing was due to the police’s failure to fulfill its responsibilities and said it had formed a group to review measures. security and protection and consider specific steps to prevent such a serious incident. from periodically.

It said in response to questions from Reuters.

Reuters could not be reached by Yamagami, who is still in police custody, for comment and could not determine whether he has an attorney.

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According to Koichi Ito, a former sergeant at the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department’s special assault team who is now a security adviser, the footage shows four bodyguards inside the railing as Abe speaks. Their number was corroborated by local politician Masahiro Okuni, who was present at the scene.

As the former prime minister steps up to speak, Yamagami can be seen in the video footage in the background, clapping his hands.

As Yamagami walked up behind Abe, security appeared inactive, the footage showed.

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

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

Katsuhiko Ikeda, the former Tokyo police chief who ran security for Japan’s Group of Eight summits in 2000 and 2008, said the situation would develop very differently if Abe’s security details were sufficient. close to reach him for a second or two.

Ito, a former police sergeant, said that security could have intercepted the first shot had they been alert and communicated.

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

(Reporting by Satoshi Sugiyama in Nara, Sam Nussey in Tokyo and Ju-min Park in Seoul; Additional reporting by Tim Kelly, Rocky Swift, Kiyoshi Takenaka, Nobuhiro Kubo, David Dolan and Yukiko Toyoda; Writing by Sam Nussey; Editing) exercised by David Dolan and William Mallard)

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