Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot dead during an election rally

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot dead on Friday while campaigning for a national election, the government said. Public broadcaster NHK said he appeared to have been shot from behind by a man with a shotgun.

Police said a 41-year-old man suspected of carrying out the shooting in the western city of Nara has been arrested.

The Kyodo news agency and NHK said Abe, 67, appeared to be in a state of cardiac arrest when he was flown to the hospital after initially being conscious and responsive.

“Such an act of barbarism cannot be tolerated,” Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters, adding that Abe was shot dead around 11:30 a.m

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Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives for his speech in Nara, Japan July 8, 2022 in this still image extracted from a social media video. Twitter @MAKICHANMAN37/via REUTERS

He said he didn’t know Abe’s condition.

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This screenshot shows former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lying on the ground after being shot from behind by a man during a campaign for the upper house elections on July 10, 2022 in Nara, western Japan, July 8, 2022 by Kyodo . Kyodo/via REUTERS

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Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe looks on as he arrives for his speech in Nara, Japan, in this still image extracted from social media video July 8, 2022. Twitter @MAKICHANMAN37/via REUTERS

NHK showed video of Abe delivering a campaign speech outside a train station when two shots were fired, briefly obscuring the view and then security officers attacking a man on the ground. A plume of smoke behind Abe was seen in another video shown on NHK.

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Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives for his speech in Nara, Japan July 8, 2022 in this still image extracted from a social media video. Twitter @MAKICHANMAN37/via REUTERS

A Kyodo photo showed Abe lying face up against a guardrail in the road, blood on his white shirt. People crowded around him, one gave him a cardiac massage.

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This screenshot shows former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lying on the ground after being shot from behind by a man during a campaign for the upper house elections on July 10, 2022 in Nara, western Japan, July 8, 2022 by Kyodo . Kyodo/via REUTERS

TBS Television reported that Abe was shot in the left side of his chest and apparently also in the neck.

Political violence is rare in Japan, a country with strict gun laws. The gun used in the shooting appears to be a home-made firearm, NHK said.

In 2007, Nagasaki Mayor Iccho Itoh was shot dead by a yakuza gangster. The leader of the Japan Socialist Party was assassinated with a samurai short sword while giving a speech in 1960 by a right-wing youth.

“I thought it was firecrackers at first,” one viewer told NHK.

Police identified the suspected shooter as Tetsuya Yamagami, a Nara resident.

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Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe looks on as he arrives for his speech in Nara, Japan, in this still image extracted from social media video July 8, 2022. Twitter @MAKICHANMAN37/via REUTERS

Abe served two terms as prime minister to become Japan’s longest-serving prime minister before resigning in 2020 due to ill health.

But he has remained a dominant presence vis-à-vis the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and controls one of its key factions.

His protégé, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, is heading into Sunday’s upper house elections, analysts say, hoping to emerge from Abe’s shadow and define his position as prime minister.

Kishida suspended his campaign after Abe’s shooting and returned to Tokyo where he was scheduled to address the media at 0530 GMT.

The government said there was no plan to postpone the election.

United States Ambassador Rahm Emanuel said he was saddened and shocked at the shooting of an outstanding leader and steadfast ally.

“The US government and the American people pray for the well-being of Abe-san, his family and the people of Japan,” he said in a statement.

Abe is best known for his signature “Abenomics” policy of bold monetary easing and fiscal spending.

He also increased defense spending after years of decline and expanded the military’s ability to project power abroad.

https://www.independent.ie/world-news/asia-pacific/japans-former-prime-minister-shinzo-abe-shot-during-election-event-41823885.html Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot dead during an election rally

Fry Electronics Team

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