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2.5 seconds: The security lapses that sealed Shinzo Abe's fate

By Satoshi Sugiyama, Sam Nussey and Ju-min Park

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It was absolutely pathetic seeing how poorly trained and prepared the supposed security police were.

This guy nails it:


24 ( +32 / -8 )

So, he got Abe with the second shot from 5 meters away? That’s only about 14 feet. Why was anybody that close? And, why was he not flung onto the ground by security after the first shot? It would seem that Abe is a victim of complacency by his bodyguards.

Hopefully, this incident will make Japan wake up and realize their little island is a part of the whole world and not the little piece of paradise they believe it to be.

8 ( +18 / -10 )

Many security guards in this country are retirees, but there aren’t robberies at the banks where they work.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Agree with David.

Can’t blame Abe for turning to look. He’s a civilian.

I want to give his detail a pass; Japan has almost no guns. However, these guys were paid and should have been trained for the one in a million scenario. And not for nothing, the protectee is dead.

They just left Abe standing there laid bare for the 2nd shot.

That’s mission failure. And no amount of “yeah but...” is going to change that. The protectee is dead.

17 ( +21 / -4 )

You can see from the photo that it was easy to get around to the back or Abe. So this would increase the area for any security to try and observe, and this could have been be reduced by having the back screened off, so the security would have half the area to monitor and it may have made it more difficult for the shooter to get a clean shot from the middle of the crowd, and if he was at the front, it would have been easier for security to monitor the front of. We live in a safe country with very few guns. Id expect they thought the main threat would be from a knife or a sword. If it was the states the main threat would be from a gun.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

It was at least seven seconds between the first shot and the time that the first officers reached Abe's person. That's too long.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

There’s no 100% security. You returned the logic here. Only under the assumption that an attacker nears with a gun, the SP or bodyguards could have possibly done more. But the sequence is opposite as an attacker choses the methods with most probability of success. So for example, if SP covers the person and looks out for gun holders, then the attacker uses a drone, fires from a roof or rams the whole scene down with a big truck etc. And again the victim possibly dies and the same discussion begins if the police or SP couldn’t have done something more effective. It’s just impossible.

-16 ( +1 / -17 )

"Abe's person", what are you on about mate?

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

These "security" men should absolutely be put on the unemployment scrapheap after this. Never to be re-employed.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Certainly this will now lead to a review into security for senior politicians when they address the community. Looking at the footage there didn’t appear to be anyone covering the rear.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

"Abe's person", what are you on about mate?

one's "person" is used to refer to one's physical self. We'd normally say "body" but in the context of someone who died in the aftermath, saying "the first officers reached Abe's body" might be a bit confusing, since he was still alive then. Maybe "the first officers reached Abe himself" would be another way to put it.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Exactly what I though when I saw the full video.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

They cremated Abe’s remains just three days after his assassination without a thorough forensic autopsy. That’s strange.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

What I would like to know is :

Was Abe surrounded by incompetents, cowards, or both?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

US can claim whatever kind of response they want. Because they are in the US. Danger is always there. Of course here the response would be a bit different. In a peaceful environment, one senses are more dull than in a a country like the US where guns incident are always rampant.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Even as a civilian, having seen the footage from various angles, even I could tell how badly Abe's security team cocked up. They should have jumped into action the second the first shot went off but even after the second, they were slow to react. Really shoddy training and reaction to the whole situation that cost a man his life.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

One more thing I noticed there was NO HEROS at the event, no body from the general public tried to stop, block, tackle or even protect Abe.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Don't scapegoat his protection squad.

Every J policeman is equipped with a security vest.

Abe san a former prime minster, standing on a soap box in full public view, should have been persuaded to wear a vest under his shirt.

That 2.5 seconds could have saved his life.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Abe's killing in the western city of Nara by a man using a homemade weapon shocked a nation where gun violence is rare and politicians campaign up close to the public with light security.

It should have been really tragic for citizens of Nara. Meeting face-to-face great names of politics like Abe Shinzo in such campaigns was traditionally one of the most pleasant things about elections in Japan. People liked these informal gatherings so much.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I of the videos I saw, a high school girl was walking far behind the shooting, the gun went off and some guy ran and knocked this poor girl off the sidewalk onto the street on to her back. You could see her ankles and shoes come flying up in the air after she fell. If this wasn’t so tragic it’d be funny.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I was about to write that there have not been any real politically motivated assassination attempts since the 60s...that is not the case:

Hitoshi Motoshima, mayor (1990) survived

Yukio Aoshima, Governor of Tokyo (1995) survived

Itcho Ito (2007) died

2 ( +4 / -2 )

"There was enough security"

No, there was a band of people posing as security.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

He had ONE bodyguard the one who tried to raise the bulletproof briefcase and get between them. The rest were local police not bodyguards. Also he should have know your drop but instead he turned and that was a fatal error no his fault but those who should train a pm to know what to do when a blooming cannon goes of next to you.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Forgot to mention Abe wasn't VIP enough to deserve security like everybody is talking about he was the head of state. He wasn't even PM nor was he even a cabinet member. lame to expect more than just mediocre security.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Abe was exposed from behind, plain and simple. Cars were freely passing by behind him for crying out loud. Somebody can just drive, stop and shoot him within meters distance if they wanted too.

The assailant walked from across the road, fired the first shot when he was in the middle but missed and then walked closer to shoot again this time hitting the target. The bodyguards had the time to stop him but didn't. Security failure of epic proportions.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

In a nutshell Abe body guards became spectators, they were to comfortable they went to sleep on their jobs. I remember when president Bush came to my home town. I went into our senior citizens center and this was a week before he arrived I saw a guy in a suit talking to one of the service desk clerks as he was asking her questions for example whats in this closet and what does this does lead to. Then he saw me and gave me a up and down stair as if he took a picture with his eyes of me then proceeded to walk away calmly looking around. As I left I saw other men with city workers where they were sealing manhole covers. A week later I was on the freeway heading home and there were police officers on every exist I thought perhaps it was a funeral but there was more police than usual. When I got home I tried to open my garage door but it would not open so I got out of my car and went into my home to exist to open the door manually after entering the house I tried to turn on my tv but it wouldn't turn on so I was thinking the electricity must be off from a power shortage finally I was able to turn on the TV and it said President Bush at the time had landed at the airport near by where I live and his motor cage was headed to the senior center that I had went to a week before. Then it hit me Air Force One had Jammed everything with in a 25 mile radius. Talking about security it was a mess as neighbor was talking about how they could not move about the city and when the motor cage left they jammed everything on the way out.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@kaimycahl that level of security would be expected for a President Or a head of state like the Emperor or the Queen. but Abe was a former PM he had security adequate for his current government position. Sure a few things could have been done differently but don't expect more than just a mediocre presence he had more security than most other MP's

2 ( +4 / -2 )

As a person who questions everything, I can look at this and see an argument to be made there was a conspiracy to assassinate Abe based on the performance of the security, which was absolutely inept and pathetic. Your average man on the street and then of his high school buddies could have done better. Seriously.

Did no one else find it too coincidental that the assassin lived only a train station away? Pretty convenient. The one man with a so-called grudge against a CIA-backed church lives only 10 minutes away. Why the sudden change to go to Nara, too?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The body guards failed. No sense or danger, no sense or urgency. They’re probably still waiting for the fax to arrive to tell them what to do.

2 ( +5 / -3 )


Fighto!Today  05:49 pm JST

These "security" men should absolutely be put on the unemployment scrapheap after this. Never to be re-employed.

they were just policemen not bodyguards. He had ONE and he did his best! The boys in blue sadly shat their pants due to lack of experience.

the fault is down to the “Japan is safe” logic when a character like Abe the longest service pm and the richest J politicians is out in public.

Heywa boke, gone wrong!!!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

As everyone says, epic fail. The security detail must be devastated. Tragic all around. Hope lessons are learned at the very least.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Good security probably doesn't rely on a missed first shot.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

First problem is a failure of imagination by Nara Prefectural police. They didn't imagine anykind of assassination attempt. Too late now.

Second problem is regular police are trained to monitor traffic, not serve as bodyguards. And in Japan regular police wait for a phone call or someone to run into a koban to report a problem before taking any action. With the traffic barriers on all sides of Abe and so many people standing around ... they relaxed.

Third problem is that Abe's speaking schedule changed at the last minute. Many lengthy meetings are needed for any kind of preparation in this country. Abe was supposed to be in Nagano, but the LDP candidate is involved in an abortion scandal. The LDP decided to distance Abe from him -- and inadvertently sent him straight into the arms of his assassin.

Fourth, Abe neither was wearing a bullet-proof vest, nor did he drop to the ground upon hearing the first terrible explosion out of the homemade gun. The vest wouldn't have stopped a bullet from hitting him in the side of the neck, from which wound he seems to have bled out. So it feels like fate, but Abe himself was part of the problem due to his apparent lack of preparation or appropriate reaction!

Finally, a friend correctly pointed out that the assassin would have been raised under the influence of the Moonies. The Unification Church seeks to detach members from contact with non-members as part of their induction process. Of course his mother would have been encouraged to bring all three children to Unification Church events. Whe waste an opportunity to recruit 4 new members instead of just 1? The assassin seems to have immediately shown anger against the Unification Church under quuestioning at Nara Prefectural police HQ, but given that he assassinated no one in the Unification Church office before killing Abe, the police had better make sure that Yamagami was not brainwashed (possibly like Lee Harvey Oswald may have been) into shooting Abe. I'm sure they're doing their best to get the facts straight, now, after the event.

R.I.P., former Prime Minister Abe.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I'd say that 99.9% of the people there including the bodyguards thought it was a firecracker prank. People here are not used to the sound and haven't even though about encountering such a scenario. I'm guessing the bodyguards are just ex judo masters or retired Japanese cops etc that also have no sense or experience of this type of danger, making them react the same way that any other civilian would. The person closest to doing something was a guy in suit with a suitcase that didn't look like he was on security. Looked like he was a couple of cm from blocking the second shot with the case.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Its easy to look back and say we shudda done this and shudda done that. Very easy.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

My opinion when viewing the video is not about poor behaviour of safety cops, it is why on Earth do a meetingon a traffic island whith traffic going on a few meters away !

No best in the world bodygards can secure a 360° perimeter for ever around that location. Yamaguchi-san, who has shown to be clever even if he is a despicable murderer, took his time for his attempt to be successful.

The fact that his gun made white smoke was surprising and must have allowed him between 0´5 to 1.5s more second before reaction of guards.

Abe-san not reacting to an explosion is also a wrong reaction. Any person who has undergone any previous terrorist attack would duck.

Any attack with sound you duck.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Now the whole security team will probably comit suicide as shame and blame culture of Japan

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

A shot to the neck,the carotid artery is always a fatal injury

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The security there was pathetic. After the first shot, they just stood there rather than reacting. And this is what our tax yen is paying for. Definitely fire these bozos and retrain new staff using FBI security.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )



US force is prepared for US treats. This is a country where everyone can get military weapon level. Of course, they will see problems everywhere. But, you can do the same, with less military level security, quite easily today. The four men protection can be sufficient in a city like Nara and a former prime minister like Abe - unless he has activities outside his officials declarations, and yes, this is often where you will find the assassination buyer next to a country.

When America send you their advisors, this is to say "we would have killed him otherwise". For a French lady, this just put US CIA on the top buyer list. This is how you control your American advisor - advertising - and go to France where you will find the real Leon murders experts. Leon movie is French because we invent the protection against Leon without going military on our political members. In France, they love to sin without CIA witness for obvious political independence reasons. And a large security tend to frightened the people voting and radicalised the over protected politician - VIP -.

What we can say is that the shooter knew the mistake in the Abe security team. So he would have had seen it at least once or more before moving. The shooter picked a professional level axe. Or may be someone noticed it before he does and had prepared the ground or strategy for him. I don't believe in luck unless gifted exceptions who would have not killed Abe this way.

It is possible the Leon was in front of the security team. This is a weird thing in nature. When a mass killer is nearby, people go away of him and security people turn unconsciously toward him leaving a weak spot in the back of the four square security team. Yes, I know a little about security natural weakness point. Just some basics.

The local police is a leak weakness but she is too the most aware about the local dangers. She knows the local crime faces and the ones to be. She knows the people who use shooting ranges. Abe's security didn't feel the need for add-on security too. They are national professionals too. The main risk was local (and international since Ukraine war, this is where national security teams tend to be weak and military strong, but this is the opposite in peace times ). For them, there was no reason to go with more protection.



-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Gun violence in Japan is indeed rare, but attacks against politicians are not. Perhaps they were preparing for a knife attack. A sad outcome.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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