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Wednesday, Oct 05, 2022

Shinzo Abe, former Japan PM, dies after being shot in Nara

Shinzo Abe, former prime minister of Japan, was shot at twice and collapsed during a speech in the city of Nara.

Shinzo Abe, former Japan Prime Minister, was shot at in Nara city on July 8, 2022. A suspect was apprehended at the scene. (Photo via Twitter/@bulletinletters)

Former Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated in Nara on Friday while campaigning for the upcoming election, reported Reuters quoting public broadcaster NHK. The 67-year-old world leader was rushed to hospital in grave condition, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in an address to the nation. A suspect has been taken into custody.

“Former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo collapsed during a speech in the city of Nara, in western Japan. Initial reports say he may have been injured. An NHK reporter on-site heard something that sounded like a gunshot, and saw Abe bleeding,” NHK said in an alert at around 8.20 am IST.

The Nara city fire department said that Abe was in cardiopulmonary arrest before he was taken to the hospital.

Photographs published by the Japanese agency Kyodo showed Abe lying face-up on the street by a guardrail, blood on his white shirt. Some showed people crowding around him as he lay unconscious. Nara city’s emergency services said he had been wounded on the right side of his neck and left clavicle, reported Reuters. It added that his brother, Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi, said Abe was getting blood transfusions.

How the attack took place

The incident occurred at around 11.30 am (8 am IST). Abe was making a campaign speech on a street outside the train station ahead of Sunday’s election to the upper house of Japan’s parliament.

Two witnesses — an NHK reporter and a female attendee — told NHK that they heard two gunshots. The woman said that though the first gunshot was loud, she did not see anyone fall. But after the second shot, she saw ex-PM Abe collapse to the ground.

This aerial photo shows the scene of gunshots in Nara, western Japan, July 8, 2022. (Kyodo News via AP)

The NHK reporter on the scene said two consecutive bangs were heard during Abe’s speech. His security personnel were seen rushing to his aid, in videos and pictures captured.

Abe has been hit towards the left of his chest as multiple shots were fired by the attacker, reported Reuters, quoting TBS. One appears to have hit the former PM in the neck.

What we know of the suspect

A 41-year-old man Tetsuya Yamagami, believed to be a resident of Nara City, has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder for shooting at Abe, reported Japanese media house NHK quoting police sources.

He is believed to be an ex-military member — a former maritime self-defence force member, reported Fuji TV.

A witness to the attack told NHK that the apparent shooter did not attempt to escape after the shooting. He instead laid down the gun and remained on the spot as he was caught by security personnel.

What the doctor at hospital said

Former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe already had no vital signs on arrival to hospital, the doctor at the Nara Medical University Hospital said. He added that Abe’s wound was deep enough to reach his heart. “Abe had sustained wounds around the right side of his neck,” news agency Reuters quoted the doctor as saying. “Abe was bleeding profusely and unfortunately and we could not save him.”

Reactions

Current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, widely considered Abe’s protege, termed the attack barbaric.

“It is barbaric and malicious and it cannot be tolerated. We will do everything we can…At this moment, doctors are working very hard to save Mr. Abe,” he said in a televised address.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “deeply disturbed” by the news. “Deeply distressed by the attack on my dear friend Abe Shinzo. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family, and the people of Japan,” he wrote on Twitter. Modi even declared a one-day national mourning over Abe’s death. Taking to Twitter, PM Modi wrote: “As a mark of our deepest respect for former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, a one day national mourning shall be observed on 9 July 2022.”

US ambassador Rahm Emanuel said America is “saddened and shocked” by the shooting. “Abe-san has been an outstanding leader of Japan and unwavering ally of the United States,” Emanuel said in a statement. “The US government and 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 by consecutive days in office before he announced his decision to step down in 2020 after a chronic illness resurfaced. He shared a close relationship with India, visiting the country in 2006, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

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First published on: 08-07-2022 at 08:25:33 am
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