National / Politics

Former defense chief Tokuichiro Tamazawa shot in leg near his home in Morioka

Staff Report

Former Defense Agency chief and farm minister Tokuichiro Tamazawa, 81, was shot in the leg Tuesday near his home in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture, and is in a stable condition, according to multiple media reports.

The suspect, identified as Hisashi Takahashi, 82, of Oshu, also in Iwate, has already turned himself into police and was immediately arrested. He is suspected of using a handgun in the shooting.

“I shot him because of a grudge related to an election. I have financial issues with him,” Takahashi was quoted as saying by Kyodo News.

An internet post written by a person with the same name as Takahashi, who claimed to be a high school classmate of Tamazawa, alleged that ¥10 million loaned to Tamazawa for election purposes had not been paid back, according to Kyodo.

The person wrote that he had headed an election campaign team for Tamazawa in 1969, when he first ran for a seat in the House of Representatives. Police are working to determine whether there is a connection between the post and the shooting, Kyodo said.

The incident “was very surprising,” said Masanori Tamazawa, 48, a son of the former minister. “(Tamazawa) retired and has led a quiet life since,” he added.

A graduate of Waseda University, Tamazawa served as the director general of the Defense Agency in 1994 under Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama.

Tamazawa, who was elected to the Lower House for the first time in 1976, served nine terms. He retired in 2009.