A shocking crime with many unanswered questions.

A shocking crime with many unanswered questions.

As Japan’s former prime minister, Shinzo Abe, spoke to the crowd in the city of Nara, a man in cargo pants and a grey shirt approached from behind, carrying a crude handmade gun. He shot Mr. Abe twice.

Men in suits, apparently the prime minister’s security detail, moved swiftly, chasing down the suspect and tackling him to the ground. The man, Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, was arrested at the scene.

While his full motives are unclear, he confessed that he had intended to kill Mr. Abe, according to the police. The prime minister, he believed, had some association with a group against which Mr. Yamagami held “a grudge.”

“I am in complete shock,” said Ayane Kubota, 37, who was headed home from work in Tokyo and scrolling through Twitter to catch up on the news on Friday evening. “This is so un-Japanese. You never hear about gun violence here. On TV in the United States you hear about it all the time, but not here.”

In a news briefing on Friday night, police officials from the Nara prefectural office said Mr. Yamagami had made the double-barreled gun, about 16 inches long and 7 inches wide. The police also found several similar weapons in his apartment near the site.

The authorities have not said what penalty they will seek for Mr. Yamagami. Japan is one of the few highly developed countries that have capital punishment; six people have been executed by hanging in the past three years. The law allows the death penalty for murder, but it is rarely applied for a single killing.

On Saturday, a hearse brought Mr. Abe’s body to his home in Tokyo. His wife, Akie Abe, accompanied the body during the ride from Nara, according to local news coverage.

Mr. Abe’s constituency office in Yamaguchi said a wake would be held on Monday and a funeral on Tuesday, but it did not indicate where the ceremonies would take place.

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