Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-serving leader and former prime minister, passed away on Friday after being shot while running for a parliamentary seat, according to official broadcaster NHK.
Since the 1930s, during the height of prewar militarism, this was the first assassination of a Japanese premier who was in office or had just left.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressed his “strongest condemnation” of the shooting in his remarks before to the announcement of Abe’s passing. Japanese people and international leaders expressed shock at the violence in a nation where political violence is uncommon and firearms are strictly regulated.
Kishida struggled to control his emotions as he added, “This attack is an act of brutality that happened during the elections – the very foundation of our democracy – and is absolutely unforgivable.”
As Shinzo Abe, 67, spoke at a dull traffic island in the western city of Nara, a guy approached him from behind and started shooting at him with what seemed to be a handmade pistol, Japanese media said earlier.
Abe seemed to be in cardiac arrest when evacuated to the hospital, according to a fire department officer.
A 41-year-old male was reportedly detained by police after being accused of carrying out the shooting. According to NHK, the suspect, Tetsuya Yamagami, told police he intended to assassinate Abe because he was unhappy with him.
At around 11:30 a.m., two bullets were fired while Abe was giving a campaign address in front of a railway station. The individual was then seen being tackled by security personnel while wearing a grey T-shirt and beige pants.
“Former prime minister Abe was shot at around 11:30 am in Nara. One man, believed to be the shooter, has been taken into custody. The condition of former prime minister Abe is currently unknown,” chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters.
When gunshots were heard, Abe was speaking. Before he passed out, he was holding his chest and covered in blood, yet he was still able to communicate.
In one of the safest nations in the world with some of the tightest gun prohibitions worldwide, the attack came as a shock.
Abe announced his resignation in 2020, claiming that a long-standing health issue has reappeared. Since he was a youngster, Abe has had ulcerative colitis, which he claims can be managed with medication.