Japan’s former PM Shinzo Abe shot, man arrested for attempted murder: reports

Friday - 08/07/2022 01:24
Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is showing no vital signs after an apparent attack at a campaign event, according to local media.

Local Japanese media are reporting that former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, 67, could be feared dead following an apparent attack at a campaign event. 

AFP reports Abe is showing no vital signs and “appears to be in a state of cardio-respiratory arrest”. The news agency states the term is “used in Japan before a feared death can be confirmed by a doctor”. 

Japanese public broadcaster NHK has also reported that the fire department said Abe was showing no vital signs, however there has been no confirmation via local authorities.
 

Shinzo Abe has been shot in Nara, Japan. Picture: Reuters
Shinzo Abe has been shot in Nara, Japan. Picture: Reuters
 
An aerial photo shows a man believed to be Abe on the stretcher at Nara Medical University Hospital in Kashihara, Nara Prefecture. Picture: Shohei Izumi / Yomiuri / The Yomiuri Shimbun via AFP
An aerial photo shows a man believed to be Abe on the stretcher at Nara Medical University Hospital in Kashihara, Nara Prefecture. Picture: Shohei Izumi / Yomiuri / The Yomiuri Shimbun via AFP

Police arrested 41-year-old Yamagami Tetsuya in Nara City for allegedly attempting murder and say a gun was seized at the site, NHK reported.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told media in an emergency news briefing Abe was shot at 11.30am and one man had been arrested, but Abe’s condition was unknown.

“At the prime minister’s office we have set a crisis management office. Prime Minister Kishida will be returning to the office immediately,” he said, according to a translation by the ABC.

“Cabinet members nationwide campaigning will be returning to Tokyo. Such violence cannot be permitted. We oppose it strongly. We’ll take every measure possible.”

According to local media, Abe collapsed while making a speech in Japan’s Nara prefecture.

Abe was standing on a podium at the side of the road before the alleged attack happened, according to footage from the event. 

NHK reported Abe was shot from behind, citing police.

Local media reported that Liberal Democratic Party sources said he was bleeding from the neck at the time he collapsed, with an NHK reporter claiming there were “two consecutive gun shots” heard at the scene, Reuters reports.
 

A man, believed to be a suspect, is seen being tackled to the ground. Picture: Takashi Yamazaki / Yomiuri / The Yomiuri Shimbun via AFP
A man, believed to be a suspect, is seen being tackled to the ground. Picture: Takashi Yamazaki / Yomiuri / The Yomiuri Shimbun via AFP
 
Footage appears to show the scene of a reported shooting involving Shinzo Abe in Nara, Japan. Picture: Twitter
Footage appears to show the scene of a reported shooting involving Shinzo Abe in Nara, Japan. Picture: Twitter


In the past few weeks, Abe had been campaigning on behalf of the Liberal Democratic Party ahead of the House of Councillors election on July 10. 

Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, held office in 2006 for one year and again from 2012 to 2020, when he was forced to step down due to the debilitating bowel condition ulcerative colitis.
 

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on June 22, 2022. Picture: Philip Fong/ AFP
Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on June 22, 2022. Picture: Philip Fong/ AFP
 

Malcolm Turnbull, who was Australian prime minister from 2015 to 2018, said he was “horrified” by the news.

“Abe Shinzo is one of the great leaders of our times. Right now we must hope and pray that he pulls through,” he wrote on Twitter.

Scott Morrison, who was Australian prime minister from 2018 until May this year, said he was “distressed” to hear the reports of an attack on Abe.

“PM Abe is a great and wise friend of Australia and one of the most important global leaders of the post war era,” he wrote on Facebook. “Our prayers are with him, his wife Akie and the people of Japan at this very difficult time.”

Japan has some of the world’s toughest gun-control laws, and annual deaths from firearms in the country of 125 million people are regularly in single figures.

Getting a gun licence is a long and complicated process even for Japanese citizens, who must first get a recommendation from a shooting association and then undergo strict police checks.

More to come.

Author: Editors Desk

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 Keywords: Japan

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