Shinzo Abe: Former Japanese Prime Minister Shot Dead While Giving Speech | world news

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot while delivering a speech in the western city of Nara.

Current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Mr Abe was in “serious condition”.

Public broadcaster NHK said he appeared to be in cardiac arrest. His shirt stained with blood, he clutched his chest as he collapsed.

It appears that Mr Abe was shot from behind, the channel added, while TBS Television said he was shot in the left side of the chest and possibly also in the neck.

Kyodo News reported that he was shot in the right side of the neck.

NHK released footage showing Mr Abe, 67, collapsed in the street, with security guards running towards him.

He added that a puff of white smoke was considered Mr Abe delivered a campaign speech outside a train station.

A reporter on the spot said he heard two consecutive detonations during Mr Abe’s speech.

A Nara City Fire Department spokesman said Mr Abe was in cardiorespiratory arrest before being taken to hospital.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said police arrested a middle-aged man in connection with the shooting.

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Aftermath of a reported attack on the former Japanese prime minister

“A barbaric act like this is absolutely unforgivable, regardless of the reasons, and we strongly condemn it,” Matsuno said.

U.S. Ambassador Rahm Emanuel said, “The U.S. government and the American people are praying for the well-being of Abe-san, his family, and the Japanese people.”

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese tweeted: “Shocking news from Japan that former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been
shot – our hearts go out to his family and the people of Japan at this time.”

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pictured in Tokyo in December 2020
Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pictured in Tokyo in December 2020

Mr Abe served two terms as prime minister – becoming Japan’s longest-serving prime minister – before stepping down in 2020, saying a chronic health condition had resurfaced.

But he remained a dominant presence within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), controlling one of its main factions.

His protege, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, faces an upper house election on Sunday, in which analysts say he hopes to emerge from Mr Abe’s shadow and define his own post as prime minister.

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