Japanese Ex- Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe Shot Dead At Campaign Rally

Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated Friday on a street in western Japan by a gunman who opened fire on him from behind as he delivered a campaign speech — an attack that stunned the nation that has some of the strictest gun control laws anywhere.

The 67-year-old Abe, who was Japan’s longest-serving leader when he resigned in 2020, collapsed bleeding and was airlifted to a nearby hospital in Nara, although he was not breathing and his heart had stopped.

He was later pronounced dead after receiving massive blood transfusions, officials said.

Nara Medical University emergency department chief Hidetada Fukushima said Abe suffered major damage to his heart, along with two neck wounds that damaged an artery. He never regained his vital signs, Fukushima said.

Prefectural police in Nara arrested the suspected gunman at the scene of the attack and identified him as Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, a former member of Japan’s navy.

Broadcaster NHK reported that he said he wanted to kill Abe because he had complaints about him unrelated to politics.

Dramatic video from NHK showed Abe standing and giving a speech outside a train station in Nara ahead of Sunday’s parliamentary election. As he raised his fist to make a point, two gunshots rang out, and he collapsed holding his chest, his shirt smeared with blood as security guards run toward him.

Guards leapt onto the gunman, who was face down on the pavement. A double-barreled device that appeared to be a handmade gun was seen on the ground.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his Cabinet ministers hastily returned to Tokyo from campaign events around the country after the shooting, which he called “dastardly and barbaric.”

He pledged that the election, which chooses members for Japan’s less-powerful upper house of parliament, would go on as planned.

“I use the harshest words to condemn (the act),” Kishida said, struggling to control his emotions.

He said the government planned to review the security situation, but added that Abe had the highest protection.

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