Shinzo Abe was only confirmed as speaker one day before event where he was killed, deepening questions around assassination

  • The former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was shot dead at a campaign speech on Friday.

  • Abe's visit to the city of Nara was only confirmed late Thursday night, the BBC reported.

  • A suspect was arrested and a makeshift gun was found at the scene.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's campaign visit on Friday morning was only confirmed late the night before, the BBC reported.

Abe was giving a speech near a train station in the western city of Nara at around 11.30 a.m. local time when he was shot twice from behind.

He suffered fatal wounds to his neck and the left of his chest and was declared dead in the hospital five and a half hours later.

The former prime minister, who stepped down in 2020 due to health issues, was on the campaign trail for in support of his Liberal Democratic Party ahead of this Sunday's upper house election.

His visit to Nara was only confirmed late last night, per the BBC.

That detail raises questions about how his killer was able to act so quickly.

Police arrested a 41-year-old man at the scene and seized a weapon, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper said. Officials did not immediately suggest a motive or comment on any planning around the attack.

The weapon appears to have been a rudimentary gun, which could be seen on the ground in video from the scene.

Airo Hino, a political science professor at Waseda University, told Reuters that a shooting like this is unprecedented in Japan, which has strict gun-control laws.

"Senior Japanese politicians are accompanied by armed security agents but often get close to the public, especially during political campaigns when they make roadside speeches and shake hands with passersby," Hino told Reuters.

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