Shinzo Abe, a former Japanese prime minister, was shot on Friday morning in Nara, western Japan, and is in serious condition, current Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida announced in a national address.
Kishida, who was overcome with emotion, expressed his hope that Abe’s medical team would be able to save his life and that he prayed for his recovery. The 67-year-old political leader had been declared dead by local authorities earlier this week.
The incident was condemned by Kishida as harshly as he could, according to him. Before Sunday’s upper-house elections, Abe was shot while campaigning for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
Two rounds were allegedly fired from a weapon that appeared to be a homemade firearm by a man at the scene.
From 2006 to 2007 and 2012 to 2020, Abe served as Japan’s longest-serving prime minister since World War II.
His health concerns prompted him to step down in 2020, he said. Despite stepping down from his position as prime minister, Abe remains one of Japan’s most well-known politicians.
Is Shinzo Abe Dead or Alive?
During a speech in front of a few hundred people, a loud blast is heard from behind Abe and a cloud of apparent gun smoke can be seen. A second gunshot is heard as the camera pans away and people scream. Abe does not react after the first fire.
Apparently, two gunshots were fired, according to an NHK reporter who witnessed Abe bleeding. On the eve of the upper house elections on July 10, Prime Minister Abe was giving a stump speech on the street.
The local fire department reports that Abe, who was brought to the hospital, is not breathing.
While Tokyo maybe 235 miles away, Nara Prefecture’s capital city is located 235 miles away.
According to NHK, the suspect is a man in his early 40s who lives in Nara prefecture. Media in Japan also reported that he had served in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Forces. The weapon displayed on Japanese television looks to be a homemade or improvised one.
The “gap between politicians and the public is relatively narrow” in Japan, according to Washington-based Japan observer and Abe biographer Tobias Harris.
“He’s a high-profile former prime minister, so he’s got more protection than others, but he’s not kind of flanked by the kind of security you would see for a comparable American leader,” Harris adds.