Shinzo Abe, Former Prime Minister, and Japan’s longest-serving leader, died on Friday after being shot while campaigning for a parliamentary election.
A man opened fire on 67-year-old Abe from behind with a homemade firearm as he spoke at a drab traffic island in the western city of Nara.
It was the first assassination of a sitting or former Japanese premier since the days of prewar militarism in the 1930s.
Before Abe’s death was announced, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned the shooting in the “strongest terms.” At the same time, Japanese people and world leaders expressed shock at the violence in a country where political violence is rare and guns are tightly controlled.
Struggling to keep his tears in check, Prime Minister Kishida said that the attack was an act of brutality during the elections, the very foundation of Japan’s democracy, and was unforgivable.
A fire department official said Abe appeared to be in a state of cardiac arrest during the airlift to the hospital.
Abe was speaking for a campaign outside a train station in Nara when two shots rang out at about 11:30 am local time. Security officials were then observed tackling a man in beige trousers and a grey T-shirt.
Abe served two terms as prime minister and stepped down in 2020, citing ill health. But he remained a dominant presence over the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
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