Two days before a general election, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot and killed on Friday while giving a campaign address in the western city of Nara.
According to authorities, a 41-year-old man shot Japan’s longest-serving leader from behind while speaking in front of Yamato-Saidaiji Station on Kintetsu Railway at approximately 11:30 a.m. His clothes were covered in blood after two shots were fired at him, and he fell to the ground.
Nara Medical University Hospital held a press conference and announced the death of the former prime minister at 5:03 p.m. The wound was extremely deep, and the primary cause of death seemed to be blood loss. The physician also noted that blood loss is thought to be the cause of death.
Tetsuya Yamagami, a resident of Nara, was detained on the spot on suspicion of trying to kill someone, according to the Police. Government reports claim that the suspect was once a member of the Maritime Self-Defense Force.
According to Police who questioned Yamagami, “it’s not a grudge against the political beliefs of former Prime Minister Abe,” according to Nara prefectural police. He was also reported claiming he intended to assassinate Abe since he didn’t like him. The cops afterward searched his residence.
After flying back to Tokyo from a campaign stop in Yamagata Prefecture, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida denounced the killing of the 67-year-old former leader “in the harshest terms imaginable,” adding such a heinous crime could never be permitted.
He claimed that it was unclear exactly why the attacker did it.
Abe, the longstanding head of the Liberal Democratic Party, was in the city to support a candidate running in Sunday’s election. A large audience was listening to his address outside the railway station.
A reporter from Kyodo News who was there at the event observed the assailant approach Abe while he was speaking for a while before shooting him.
The audience started screaming within seconds, and Abe immediately collapsed to the ground. Police officers promptly detained Yamagami.
Abe was lying on the ground with his eyes closed, and a campaign team member was observed frantically attempting to resuscitate him by pressing on his chest with both hands. Nearby residents requested medical aid.
In Japan, a nation with strong gun laws, shootings are uncommon.
An explosion-like sound was produced by the attacker’s weapon when it was discharged, and white smoke ascended into the air. After then, a scent of gunpowder could be noticed.
The reporter claimed that the weapon’s barrel seemed to be duct-taped.
Kishida and his cabinet colleagues later considered the government’s response to the event.
When questioned about the potential influence on Japanese politics, Kishida responded that the moment was not suitable to make any big statements and added that no decisions had been made on handling the Sunday remaining in the campaign.
Abe, born into a well-known political family, worked as his father’s secretary before being chosen to serve in the House of Representatives in 1993.
Before resuming the position in 2012, he served as prime minister for a brief period from 2006 and 2007. After almost eight years, owing to health issues, he resigned.
He implemented “Abenomics” economic policies during his second tenure as president, which included significant monetary easing, fiscal stimulus, and structural changes to fight deflation and revive the country’s sluggish economy.
Abe worked to advance the constitutional change of Japan’s pacifist Constitution while also attempting to strengthen Japan’s security partnership with the United States and improve Japan’s international prominence.
Rahm Emanuel, the American ambassador to Japan, expressed his “sadness and horror” at the incident.
Over matters of war, the ardent conservative occasionally infuriated Japan’s Asian neighbors. Abe’s visit to Tokyo’s Yasukuni shrine in December 2013 sparked outrage from several countries, including China and South Korea. The shrine is seen as a reminder of Japan’s historical militarism.