Shinzo Abe shot: A Reuters report quoting a government spokesman said that former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot on Friday while campaigning for the upcoming election in Nara.
The 67-year-old former world leader is showing no significant symptoms after being taken to hospital, news agency AFP quoted Japanese media as saying. A suspect has been taken into custody.
Former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo collapses during a speech in the city of Nara, western Japan. Initial reports said that he may be injured.
An NHK reporter at the site heard something that sounded like a gunshot, and saw Abe bleeding profusely,” NHK said in an alert.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, addressing the media on Friday morning, said he was not aware of Abe’s current situation. He said such brutality cannot be tolerated.
Meanwhile, the Nara city fire department said Abe was in cardiopulmonary arrest before being taken to hospital.
How did the attack happen?
The incident happened at around 11.30 am (8.30 am IST). Abe was delivering a campaign speech on a street outside a train station on Sunday ahead of elections to the upper house of Japan’s parliament.
Two witnesses – an NHK reporter and a female participant – told NHK that they heard two gunshots. The woman said that though the first shot was sharp, she did not see anyone falling.
But after the second shot, he saw former PM Abe falling to the ground.
An NHK reporter present at the scene said two consecutive explosions were heard during Abe’s speech. His security personnel rushed to his aid, captured in video and photographs.
Abe is believed to have been hit on the left side of his chest as the attacker fired multiple shots, Reuter’s reports, quoting TBS. One has stabbed the former PM in the neck.
What do we know about the suspect?
Japanese media house NHK quoted police sources as saying that Tetsuya Yamagami, a 41-year-old man from the city of Nara, has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder to shoot Abe.
He is believed to be a former military member – a former Maritime Self-Defense Force member, Fuji TV reported.
An eyewitness to the attack told NHK that the attacker did not try to escape after being shot. Instead he kept the gun and remained on the spot when caught by the security personnel.
Current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who is widely considered to be Abe’s aide, called the attack barbaric.
“It is barbaric and malicious and cannot be tolerated. We will do everything we can… At this time, doctors are working very hard to save Mr. Abe,” he said in a televised address.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “extremely upset” by the news. “Very saddened by the attack on my dear friend Abe Shinzo. Our condolences and prayers are with him, his family and the people of Japan.”
US Ambassador Rahm Emanuel said the US was “saddened and shocked” by the shootings. “Abe-san has been an outstanding leader of Japan and an unwavering ally of the United States,” Emanuel said in a statement.
“The US government and the American people are praying for the well-being of Abe-san, his family, and the people of Japan.”
Hailing from a political family, Abe made news as the longest-serving PM in office for consecutive days before announcing his decision to step down in 2020 after the re-emergence of a chronic illness.
He shared close ties with India, visiting the country in 2006, 2014, 2015 and 2017.