A gunman shot the former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe on Friday while he was giving a campaign speech on a street in western Japan. The attack shocked the country, which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the world. The 67-year-old Abe, who served as the longest-serving prime minister of Japan until his resignation in 2020, collapsed and started bleeding.
He was airlifted to a hospital in Nara even though his heart had stopped and he was not breathing. Abe was declared dead by medical professionals at the Nara Medical University hospital in central Japan at 5:03 p.m. after receiving massive blood transfusions.
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Hidetada Fukushima, head of the emergency department at Nara Medical University, claimed that Abe had significant cardiac damage in addition to two neck wounds that had ruptured an artery. According to Fukushima, he never regained his vital signs. About ten minutes into his speech on Friday at 11.30 am (12.30 pm AEST) in Nara, western Japan, Abe was shot from behind.
Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, a former member of the Japanese navy, was apprehended by Nara’s prefectural police at the scene of the attack. He reportedly indicated he wanted to assassinate Abe because of personal grievances unconnected to politics, according to broadcaster NHK.
In a dramatic video from NHK, Abe was seen speaking in front of a Nara railway station before the parliamentary election on Sunday. Two gunshots were heard as he raised his hand to emphasize his point, and as security personnel rushed to help him, he slumped grabbing his chest and was covered in blood. Guards jumped onto the shooter as he lay face down on the sidewalk.
On the ground was what seemed to be a homemade gun with two barrels. Other footage from the moment showed Abe being surrounded by campaign workers. The former leader, who now leads Seiwakai, the party’s largest group, was still quite powerful in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Sunday is election day for the lower house of Japan’s parliament, which has less authority.
Following the shooting, which he dubbed “dastardly and barbarous,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his Cabinet ministers hurriedly arrived in Tokyo from political rallies across the nation. He promised that the election, which selects representatives for Japan’s lower house of parliament, would proceed as scheduled.
Kishida, who was having trouble controlling his emotions, added, “I use the sharpest terms to denounce (the crime). Although he emphasised that Abe had the highest level of protection, he stated that the administration planned to reassess the security situation.
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