Shinzo Abe Assassinated: Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe died today after being shot twice during an operation in the Nara region, a hospital treating him confirmed. Doctors treating him at the hospital say that “the bullet entered the heart”.
Shinzo Abe Assassinated
“There was a big hole in the heart because of the gunshot wound,” said a doctor.
After former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot in Nara, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters earlier in the day that he left his campaign trail and flew to Tokyo. “This is completely unforgivable. I strongly condemn this act,” he said.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said a man, believed to be the shooter, and had been taken into custody. Local media, citing police sources, identified the man as 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami. Officials say explosives were found from his house.
NHK and Kyodo news agency said that gunshots were heard when Shinzo Abe was delivering a speech at an event ahead of Sunday’s Upper House election.
“He was giving a speech and a man came from behind,” a young woman at the scene told NHK. “The first shot looked like a toy. He didn’t fall over and there was a big bang. The second shot was more visible, you could see the spark and the smoke,” she said. “After the second shot, people surrounded him and gave him a cardiac massage.”
A ruling party source told Jiji news agency that Abe, 67, collapsed and was bleeding from his neck. An official of Abe’s party faction said he had been transfused.
Several media outlets reported that he appeared to have been shot from behind, possibly with a shotgun.
The government said a task force has been constituted in the wake of the incident and the government’s top spokesperson is expected to speak shortly.
Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, Abe held office for a year in 2006 and again from 2012 to 2020, when he was forced to step down due to the debilitating bowel condition ulcerative colitis.
Japan has some of the strictest gun control laws in the world, and annual firearm deaths regularly range in single figures in the country of 125 million people. Obtaining a gun license is a lengthy and complicated process even for Japanese citizens, who must first obtain a recommendation from a shooting association and then undergo rigorous police scrutiny.