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Former Japanese PM Abe shot

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe rushed to a hospital on Friday following an assassination attempt in which he had been shot in the city of Nara in western Japan, local media reported while the local fire department said that the statesman was showing no vital signs.

Mr Abe was orating in the street in front of the Yamato-Saidaiji Station of Kintetsu Railway in Nara to drum up support ahead of the July 10 elections for the upper house of parliament.

The alleged shooter was disarmed, overwhelmed and taken into custody. Local sources said that the attacker arrested by the police is a 41-year-old man. Some local media outlets identified him as Tetsuya Yamagami, a resident of Nara, who served in the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force from 2002 to 2005.

Reportedly, the shot came from behind and was delivered with what seems to be an improvised shotgun.

Japan’s public broadcaster NHK was told by two students who witnessed the shooting that what they saw resembled “a toy bazooka”. They heard a loud bang when Abe was shot the first time.

“He didn’t collapse, we just heard a very loud bang, but it didn’t seem like anything happened to him,” one of the students said, adding that smoke was “clearly visible after the second shot” and that “Mr Abe collapsed the moment the second shot was fired”.

Meanwhile, the second student said that the shooter “didn’t flee and stayed there, dropping his gun nearby. He was very quickly surrounded by security.”

❗️Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shot in chest while addressing a political campaign in Nara city in western Japan.

Mr. Abe has been rushed to the hospital, according to sources.

He was given CPR on the spot but showing no vital signs as on now.

— Awakening มืดไปสว่าง (@HungDaviddeviva) July 8, 2022

Mr Abe is recognised for his longest service as Japan’s prime minister. The man held office from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2012 to 2020, when he resigned due to health issues. But even after leaving public office, Mr Abe remained arguably the most prominent politician in Japan. He was campaigning for his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) ahead of Sunday’s election.

The international community reacts

US envoy to Japan Rahm Emanuel wrote in a tweet that he was “saddened” and “shocked” by the shooting, adding that Mr Abe has been an “unwavering ally of the U.S.” and that the US government and its people were praying for the former Japanese leader’s well-being.

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.

— ラーム・エマニュエル駐日米国大使 (@USAmbJapan) July 8, 2022

For his part, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese stated that his thoughts were with Abe’s family and the people of Japan.

Shocking news from Japan that former PM Shinzo Abe has been shot – our thoughts are with his family and the people of Japan at this time

— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) July 8, 2022

“Horrified” by the news, tweeted former Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull.

Horrified by this terrible news from Japan. Abe Shinzo is one of the great leaders of our times. Right now we must hope and pray that he pulls through.

— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) July 8, 2022

More to come…

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