Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was on Friday confirmed dead after he was shot at during a campaign speech in Nara City, western Japan, local media reported citing officials.
“Officials say former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has been confirmed dead. He was reportedly shot during a speech on Friday in the city of Nara, near Kyoto,” Japanese media outlet NHK tweeted on its official Twitter handle.
Liberal Democratic Party sources also confirmed the same, Kyoto news agency reported.
Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, had stepped down in 2020 citing health reasons. He was prime minister of Japan twice, from 2006-07 and again from 2012-20. He was succeeded by Yoshihide Suga and later by Fumio Kishida.
Earlier today Abe, 67, was rushed to hospital after he collapsed at 11.30 am (local time) during a campaign speech in the western Japanese city of Nara ahead of Sunday’s elections for Japan’s upper house of Parliament.
Initial media reports, citing authorities said that it appeared that Abe was shot at in the chest and described the condition of the former PM as in “cardiopulmonary arrest.”
Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida earlier in his live address to the country today said that his condition of Abe was grave. “This is not a forgivable act,” Kishida said adding that authorities would “take appropriate measures to handle the situation.”
Kishida further said that the motive behind Abe’s shooting is not known. The media outlet citing government sources also reported that Abe’s shooting suspect is an ex-member of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces.
The Japanese PM also requested everyone to not speculate about any political ramifications at the time. Japanese Police have identified the suspect arrested for shooting Abe as Tetsuya Yamagami, a 41-year-old resident of Nara City, according to local media.