Shinzo Abe was Japan’s longest-serving prime minister. He died on Friday, hours after being shot while campaigning for a parliamentary election.
This shocked a country where political violence is rare and guns are tightly controlled.
According to Japanese media reports, Abe, 67, was shot from behind with an apparently handmade rifle while speaking on a traffic island in the western city of Nara.
It was the first time a current or former prime minister of Japan had been killed since the war years of 1936.
Doctors tried all they could to rescue Abe, but he died at 5:03 p.m. (0803 GMT), approximately five and a half hours after he was shot.
A doctor informed a nationally broadcast news conference that he died from two severe wounds, one on the right side of his neck. When the previous commander was brought in, he had no vital signs.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned the attack in “strong words” before Abe’s death was known, while Japanese people and foreign leaders reacted in horror.
“There was a huge blast and then smoke,” said businessman Makoto Ichikawa, who was present at the site.
“No one understood what was going on with the first shot, but after the second shot, what appeared to be special police tackled him.”
Earlier, the Kyodo news agency released a photo showing Abe laying face-up on the roadway next to a guardrail, blood on his white shirt. People were swarming around him, with one giving him a heart massage.
According to Hidetada Fukushima, the professor in charge of emergency care at Nara Medical University Hospital, Abe received almost 100 units of blood in transfusions over four hours while he was in cardiopulmonary arrest. He never recovered.
Waseda University political science professor Airo Hino said the shooting was unusual in Japan. “This has never happened before,” he remarked.
Senior Japanese politicians are always accompanied by armed security guards, but they often talk to people, especially during election campaigns when they give speeches on the side of the road and shake hands with people watching.
A yakuza gangster murdered Nagasaki’s mayor in 2007, a right-wing youth with a samurai short sword killed the leader of the Japan Socialist Party in 1960. Other politicians were targeted but not hurt.
According to police, the alleged gunman was a Nara resident. According to media reports, he served in Japan’s military for three years until 2005. Defence Minister Kishi refused to comment.
Abe spent two terms as Prime Minister until stepping down in 2020 due to health issues. However, he remained a powerful figure in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), commanding one of its key groups. more info
According to observers, Kishida, Abe’s apprentice, hoped to use the election to escape from Abe’s shadow and define his leadership. Following the incident, Kishida discontinued his political campaign. The incident was denounced by all major political parties.
“IT’S VERY, VERY SAD.”
Prior to Abe’s death, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken voiced grave worry about his health.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family, and the people of Japan,” Blinken said on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Indonesia.
Japan’s most significant ally is the United States.
The currency soared and Japan’s Nikkei index (.N225) plummeted on news of the shooting, which was fueled in part by a flight to safety.
Abe is most known for his “Abenomics” monetary easing and fiscal expenditure policies. more info
After years of cuts, he also put more money into defence and made it easier for the military to send troops overseas.
In 2014, his government changed the pacifist constitution that was made after the war. This made it possible for troops to fight overseas for the first time since World War II.
The next year, the restriction on using the right to collective self-defense or helping a friendly country that was being attacked was taken away.
However, Abe was unable to fulfil his aim of modifying the US-drafted constitution by including Japan’s military, known as the Self-Defense Forces, inside the pacifist Article 9.
Abe became Japan’s youngest prime minister since World War II in 2006, but stepped down a year later, citing health problems.
In 2012, he was re-elected Prime Minister.
Abe came from an affluent political family that included a foreign minister father and a premier grandfather.
Kishida remarked, fighting to control his emotions. “This incident is an act of cruelty that occurred during elections-the very core of our democracy-and is totally reprehensible,” Kishida remarked, fighting to control his emotions.
Police detained a 41-year-old male suspect named Tetsuya Yamagami who said he was displeased with Prime Minister Abe and planned to murder him.
When two guns broke out outside a railway station, Abe was giving a campaign rally. Security personnel were then seen tackling a man wearing a grey T-shirt and beige pants.