Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Dies After Being Shot At Campaign Event — Local Reports

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UPDATE, 1.55 AM PT, July 8: Japanese broadcaster NHK is reporting former prime minister Shinzo Abe has died after being shot while giving a speech. He had been in critical condition for several hours prior but attempts to save him failed.

A man in his 40s has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after the shooting, which happened near Kyoto in western Japan yesterday morning local time.

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PREVIOUSLY, 9.00 PM PT, July 7: Multiple media outlets reported that Japan’s former prime minister, Shinzo Abe, was shot while giving a speech in western Japan near Kyoto on Friday. Outlets cited the nation’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, who confirmed the former PM was shot around 11:30 a.m. local time.

“Whatever the reason, such a barbaric act can never be tolerated, and we strongly condemn it,” declared Matsuno.

Abe was said to be bleeding as he was loaded into an ambulance and the New York Times, citing a local fire official, reported Abe was unconscious and showing no vital signs. He was driven to a helicopter and flown to a medical facility. Multiple reports had Abe in cardiopulmonary arrest when he arrived.

Japanese media outlet NHK reported that a man had been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder. The outlet reported that the alleged assailant was in his 40s and a local resident. On video and in images, the weapon appeared to be a sort of modified shotgun, a rarity in a country with some of the world’s strictest gun laws where associated violence is extremely rare. NHK reported the gun appeared to be hand made. The weapon was seized at the scene.

Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, falls on the ground in Nara, western Japan on Friday. - Credit: AP
Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, falls on the ground in Nara, western Japan on Friday. - Credit: AP

AP

Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, was in the region giving a speech related to an upcoming election. One of the most consequential leaders in post WWII Japan, he resigned in 2020 due to ulcerative colitis but remained a key player in Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Current prime minister Kishida abruptly left his campaigning, to head back to Tokyo, according to chief cabinet secretary Matsuno.

Rahm Emanuel, U.S. ambassador to Japan and brother to WME CEO Ari Emanuel, posted on Twitter that “American people are praying for the well-being of Abe-san, his family, & the people of Japan.”

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