Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated on Friday while giving a speech in the city of Nara, in southern Japan.
The 67-year-old former president died at Nara Medical University Hospital, where he was receiving medical treatment after the incident.
He collapsed immediately after the shooting and was rushed to hospital, where doctors spent four and a half hours trying to save his life.
Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe assassinated while giving a speech
Following the announcement of his death, a hospital doctor confirmed at a press conference that he had found injuries to the right side of his neck, but said no bullets had been found.
In addition, he assured that his team had not detected vital signs when the former prime minister arrived at the hospital.
The expert doctor concluded that, after falling into a state of cardiopulmonary arrest at the scene of the crime, Shinzo Abe bled to death.
Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called the attack an act of brutality and said he was “speechless”.
“I have great respect for the legacy Shinzo Abe left behind and I offer him my deepest condolences,” he added, describing Abe as a “personal friend” and someone he “spent a lot of time with.”
“I received valuable advice and support from Abe,” he continued.
How the attack happened
- Abe was campaigning in the southern Japanese city of Nara, two days before elections for the upper house of the Japanese parliament scheduled for Sunday.
- He was giving a campaign speech in support of political candidate Kei Sato, a current member of the upper house who is running for re-election in Nara.
- Two shots were heard and Abe is believed to have received one of them in the neck.
- The former president collapsed immediately and was rushed to the nearest hospital.
- Security agents who were at the scene approached the attacker, who is now in custody.
- An unidentified weapon was filmed on the ground after the attack. The attacker is believed to have used a homemade weapon, but the police have not confirmed this version.
Police seized the gun from the attacker, who was identified as Yamagami Tetsuya.
Tetsuya told investigators that he was unhappy with the former prime minister and intended to kill him, according to police sources.
The attacker is a former member of Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force (naval force), local media reported.
Attacks of this type are very rare in Japan, a country where there are strict restrictions on the possession of firearms and where there are hardly any incidents of political violence.
The end of a legacy
Abe was Japan’s prime minister from 2006 to 2007, and again from 2012 to 2020, making him the longest-serving president in Japan’s history.
The son of former Foreign Minister Shintaro Abe and grandson of former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, Abe was a political royalty and was still considered a powerful figure in Japanese politics.
He was known for his aggressive foreign policy and characteristic economic strategy that became popularly known as “Abenomics”.
He is, so far, the longest-serving prime minister in the Asian country. His first spell as prime minister was brief, lasting just over a year from 2006, and marred by scandal.
But he made a political comeback in 2012 and remained in power until 2020 when he resigned for health reasons.
Abe resigned after weeks of speculation, revealing that he had suffered a relapse of ulcerative colitis – the intestinal disease that prompted his resignation in 2007.
He was succeeded by his close party ally Yoshihide Suga, who was later replaced by Fumio Kishida, the current prime minister.
The former Japanese leader was one of the most influential politicians in Japan in modern times. His murder has caused shock and condemnation both in Japan and abroad.
With information from CNN and Reuters