Former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe has been assassinated while giving a campaign speech in southern Japan. Abe, 67, immediately collapsed after being shot in the neck and was rushed to the hospital.
Pronounced dead after five hours
He was pronounced dead about five hours later at 5pm local time (9am UK time). The suspected attacker – reported to be a male in his 40s – was tackled at the scene and arrested.
Japan’s current prime minister, Fumio Kishida, says he is “lost for words”, describing Abe as a “personal friend”. Abe – in office in 2006-07 and 2012-20 – remains the country’s longest-serving PM and best-known political figure internationally. Global leaders are reacting with shock; PM Boris Johnson says the UK stands with the Japanese people at a “sad and dark time”
Questions on the gun law of the country
The death of Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today, after he was shot while giving a campaign speech, has shocked a country known for its strict gun laws and where violence involving firearms is very rare. It’s extremely hard to own a weapon in Japan legally.
The shooter – who has been named by Japanese media as 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami – can be seen standing a short distance behind Abe as he steps up to the podium to speak to voters outside Yamato-Saidaiji Station of Kintetsu Railway in Nara, southern Japan.
He is reported to be a former member of Japan’s Maritime Self-Defence Force, the country’s navy, but the defence ministry has not officially confirmed this.
Japanese broadcaster NHK reports Yamagami as telling police he was “dissatisfied with Abe and wanted to kill him”.
The suspect is now in police custody. Eyewitnesses said they saw a man carrying what they described as a large gun and firing twice at Abe from behind.
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