Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Dies After Being Shot During Speech

Joe Harker

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Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Dies After Being Shot During Speech

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

The former prime minister of Japan has died after being shot while giving a campaign speech, state media is reporting.

Japanese media station NHK is reporting that Shinzo Abe has now died after he was shot twice. A 41-year-old suspect was tackled at the scene by security officials and is now in police custody.

He was reportedly giving a speech in the city of Nara on behalf of political candidate Kei Sato when he was shot.

The former Japanese prime minister suffered wounds to the right side of his neck and to the left collarbone, before being rushed to hospital where he received a blood transfusion.

Doctors spent four and a half hours trying to save him but have since announced that Abe bled to death. No vital signs were detected by the time he arrived at the hospital.

Abe was Japan's longest serving prime minister, having been in office for a first stint between 2006 and 2007 and then from 2012 to 2020 before stepping down for health reasons.

Former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was shot dead while giving a speech. Credit: Alamy
Former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was shot dead while giving a speech. Credit: Alamy

He had been speaking outside a train station when the attack occurred, with footage of the incident showing the former prime minister collapsing after shots were fired.

According to NHK, the man taken into custody told officers he had intended to kill Abe. They also report that the suspect used to serve in the Japanese navy.

The suspect has been named as 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami.

Fumio Kishida, the current prime minister of Japan, served as Minister for Foreign Affairs in Abe's government between 2012 and 2017.

He described the shooting as 'dastardly and barbaric' and 'absolutely unforgivable', and asked all members of his cabinet to return to Tokyo.

The attack has shocked many in Japan, which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the world.

Shinzo Abe had been the longest serving prime minister in Japanese history. Credit: Alamy
Shinzo Abe had been the longest serving prime minister in Japanese history. Credit: Alamy

The suspect made no attempt to flee after shooting the former Japanese prime minister and his weapon, reportedly a handmade gun, was recovered from the scene.

Abe had been in Nara to make a speech ahead of elections due to take place in Japan on Sunday (10 July).

Tributes to Abe have poured in from major figures across the world.

Departing British prime minister Boris Johnson condemned the 'despicable attack' while US ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel praised Abe as an 'outstanding leader of Japan'.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi called Abe a 'towering global statesman' and a 'remarkable administrator'.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said his country had been 'shocked' by the attack, though per the BBC comments gloating over Abe's killing have been rife on Chinese social media.

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677

Topics: News

Joe Harker
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