Japan Ex-PM Shinzo Abe Dies After Being Shot; 'Lost for Words,' Says PM Kishida
The Japan Police raided the shooter's home and found possible explosives.
Video Producer: Aparna Singh
Video Editor: Shohini Bose
Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe died at the age of 67 after he was shot earlier on Friday, 8 July, in the city of Nara, officials said. Abe was prime minister from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2012 to 2020. He was the longest-serving prime minister of Japan.
Abe was shot from behind while delivering a stump speech at an event ahead of Sunday's Upper House elections.
After being shot, Abe did not show any vital signs. He was not breathing, and his heart stopped while being airlifted to the hospital for the gunshot wound, a fire official was quoted as saying.
Shinzo Abe was transported to (the hospital) at 12:20 pm (local time). He was in a state of cardiac arrest upon arrival. Resuscitation was administered. However, unfortunately, he died at 5:03 pm.Hidetada Fukushima of Nara Medical University hospital to AFP
The fire department said earlier that the former prime minister was in a state of cardiorespiratory arrest, a term often used in Japan before death can be confirmed by a coroner.
Shooter Used a 'Homemade' Gun, Was 'Dissatisfied' With Abe
A 41-year-old man, identified as Yamagami Tetsuya, had earlier been arrested on charges of attempted murder and his gun has been confiscated.
He is reportedly a former maritime self-defence force member, who served for three years until 2005, according to NHK.
Hours after the shooting, the Japan Police raided the suspect's residence and found possible explosives.
The shooting suspect reportedly told the police that he wanted to kill Abe because he was dissatisfied with him, Reuters said, quoting sources.
The police said that the weapon used to shoot Abe was "homemade," according to the local media.
A photograph revealed two cylindrical metal parts heavily bound with black tape lying on the road near the scene, The Guardian reported.
Japan has some of the most stringent gun-control laws and deaths from firearms are in single figures annually.
Getting a licence for a gun is an arduous process even for Japanese citizens. It is necessary to first get a shooting association's recommendation and then undergo strict police checks.
5th Such Attack on Japanese Politician Since 1990
The shooting of Abe is the fifth such attack on a Japanese politician since 1990, NHK reported.
The most recent attack took place in 2007, during which Nagasaki mayor Ito Itcho was shot dead by a criminal group.
The assassination attempt on Abe marks the second such attempt made on a prime minister or former prime minister's life in the country.
In 1994, former PM Hosokawa Morihiro was fired upon by a member of a right-wing group while he was in a hotel in Tokyo. Fortunately, Morihiro escaped unhurt.
'Lost for Words': Japanese PM Kishida
Japanese PM Fumio Kishida said that he was "lost for words" after the death of Abe. He also urged citizens not to let this incident impact daily governance, and called for a free and fair election to be conducted safely.
Kishida called the incident "barbaric and malicious."
The PM had earlier cancelled his remaining campaigns scheduled in Fukushima and Kyoto. He was supposed to deliver speeches there but returned to Tokyo along with cabinet ministers, NHK reported.
A task force has been formed to look into the incident.
PM Modi Expresses Condolences, Announces Day of National Mourning
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to express his condolences to Abe's family.
"During my recent visit to Japan, I had the opportunity to meet Mr Abe again and discuss many issues. He was witty and insightful as always. Little did I know that this would be our last meeting. My heartfelt condolences to his family and the Japanese people," he said.
Modi also said that Abe had made an "immense contribution" towards the elevation of India-Japan relations.
"Today, whole India mourns with Japan and we stand in solidarity with our Japanese brothers and sisters in this difficult moment," PM Modi stated.
He also announced that a day of national mourning would be observed in respect of the late former PM on Saturday, 9 July.
(With inputs from NHK and AFP.)
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.