Home News Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in ‘severe condition’ after shooting; suspect...

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in ‘severe condition’ after shooting; suspect arrested

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Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was rushed to a hospital after being shot while giving a speech on a street in Nara in western Japan Friday.

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida gave an emotional press conference where he said Abe, 67, is in “severe condition” and he hopes he will survive. Abe was taken from the scene of the shooting unconscious and in cardiac arrest with no vital sings, Japanese media outlets Kyodo News and NHK reported. 

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks to reporters at his official residence in Tokyo Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. (Kyodo News via AP)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks to reporters at his official residence in Tokyo Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. (Kyodo News via AP)

At the time Abe collapsed, a sound like a gunshot was heard. He appeared to have been shot from behind. Abe was making a campaign speech ahead of Sunday’s election for the parliament’s upper house at the time of the shooting.

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Kishida, who belongs to the same political party as Abe, returned to Tokyo from a campaign trip after the shooting. Kishida spoke to reporters at the prime minister’s office, saying Abe was receiving utmost medical treatment. “I’m praying for former prime minister Abe’s survival from the bottom of my heart,” he said.

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE

Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, falls on the ground in Nara, western Japan Friday, July 8, 2022. Abe was in heart failure after apparently being shot during a campaign speech Friday in western Japan, NHK public television said Friday.

Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, falls on the ground in Nara, western Japan Friday, July 8, 2022. Abe was in heart failure after apparently being shot during a campaign speech Friday in western Japan, NHK public television said Friday.
(Kyodo News via AP)

Kishida called the attack “dastardly and barbaric” and that the crime during the election campaign, which is the foundation of democracy, is absolutely unforgivable.

U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel said in a statement: “We are all saddened and shocked by the shooting of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo. Abe-san has been an outstanding leader of Japan and unwavering ally of the U.S. The U.S. Government and American people are praying for the well-being of Abe-san, his family, & people of Japan.” 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was in Bali, Indonesia for a G20 meeting, said he was “deeply saddened about the shooting” and “Our thoughts, prayers are with him, his family, and people of Japan. Very sad moment.”

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This aerial photo shows the scene of gunshots in Nara, western Japan Friday, July 8, 2022. Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was in heart failure after apparently being shot during a campaign speech Friday in western Japan, NHK public television said Friday. (Kyodo News via AP)(Kyodo News via AP)

This aerial photo shows the scene of gunshots in Nara, western Japan Friday, July 8, 2022. Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was in heart failure after apparently being shot during a campaign speech Friday in western Japan, NHK public television said Friday. (Kyodo News via AP)(Kyodo News via AP)

Former president Donald Trump reacted to Abe’s shooting on his social media platform Truth Social, writing: “Absolutely devastating news that former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, a truly great man and leader, has been shot, and is in very serious condition. He was a true friend of mine and, much more importantly, America. This is a tremendous blow to the wonderful people of Japan, who loved and admired him so much. We are all praying for Shinzo and his beautiful family!”

Former Vice President Mike Pence took to Twitter early Friday morning to say he and his wife Karen are “deeply troubled to learn of the shooting of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.”

Pence continued, “Abe-san was a remarkable leader of Japan and an unshakeable ally of the U.S. We join millions praying for this truly good man and his family. God bless Shinzo Abe.” He shared the tweet along with a picture of himself with Abe.

President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have yet to release any statements. 

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A male suspect was detained at the scene and a gun was confiscated. NHK identified the suspect as Yamagami Tetsuya, 41.  

People react after gunshots in Nara, western Japan Friday, July 8, 2022. Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was in heart failure after apparently being shot during a campaign speech Friday in western Japan, NHK public television said Friday.

People react after gunshots in Nara, western Japan Friday, July 8, 2022. Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was in heart failure after apparently being shot during a campaign speech Friday in western Japan, NHK public television said Friday.
(Kyodo News via AP)

According to NHK, several of the country’s Ministry of Defense officials said Yamagami had been working for the Maritime Self-Defense Force for three years until around 2005. He reportedly told police that he was dissatisfied with former Prime Minister Abe and wanted to kill him.

Abe is Japan’s longest-serving prime minister. He served from 2006 to 2007 and again in 2012 until he resigned in 2020 after his ulcerative colitis, a chronic condition, resurfaced, calling his decision at the time “gut-wrenching.”

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE VIDEO

During his term, he focused on the economy, rebuilding Japan’s military and being a larger player in international affairs. 

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This is a breaking story. The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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