Japan’s former prime minister, Shinzo Abe, assassinated at a campaign rally
Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-serving leader, died on Friday hours after he was shot while campaigning for a parliamentary election, shocking a country in which political violence is rare and guns are tightly controlled.
The shooter opened fire on Abe, 67, from behind as the former premier addressed members of the public on a drab traffic island in the western city of Nara. Japanese media reported that the weapon appeared to be a homemade gun.
“This attack is an act of brutality that happened during the elections – the very foundation of our democracy – and is absolutely unforgivable,” said Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Abe’s protege, struggling to keep his emotions in check.
It was the first killing of a sitting or former Japanese leader since a 1936 coup attempt, when several figures including two ex-premiers were assassinated.
Doctors were unable to revive Abe, who was taken to hospital in cardiopulmonary arrest and showing no vital signs. He was declared dead at 5:03 p.m. (0803 GMT), about five and a half hours after being shot.
He bled to death from deep wounds to the heart and the right side of his neck, despite receiving more than 100 units of blood in transfusions over four hours, Hidetada Fukushima, the professor in charge of emergency medicine at Nara Medical University Hospital, told a televised news conference.
Police said a 41-year-old man suspected of carrying out the shooting had been arrested. NHK quoted the suspect, identified as Tetsuya Yamagami, as telling police he was dissatisfied with Abe and wanted to kill him. The suspect told police he had made multiple handmade explosives and guns in the past, NHK said.