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BREAKING: Former Japanese PM Abe dies of shot wounds

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe died in a hospital where he was taken to after a 41-year-old Japanese army veteran shot him during a pre-election speech in Nara.

The longest-standing PM in Japanese history was confirmed dead by various media outlets, including Reuters, the Guardian, New York Times and local media.

Mr Abe was 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 already at that moment.

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

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki tweeted words of “shock” following the murder of Mr Abe.

I am deeply shocked by the news of the assassination of @AbeShinzo. My thoughts are with the family of our Japanese friend who was always very kind to Poland. May he Rest In Peace.

— Mateusz Morawiecki (@MorawieckiM) July 8, 2022

Calling the murder “tragic”, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda tweeted his condolences.

Saddened and shocked by the tragic death of former Prime Minister @AbeShinzo. It is a big loss for Japan and the democratic world.

Abe-san was a great leader and a true advocate of democracy.

My heartfelt condolences to his family, loved ones and all people of Japan.

— Gitanas Nausėda (@GitanasNauseda) July 8, 2022

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy extended his “deepest condolences” to the family of Mr Abe and “the people of Japan at this difficult time.”

Horrible news of a brutal assassination of former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe. I am extending my deepest condolences to his family and the people of Japan at this difficult time. This heinous act of violence has no excuse.

— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) July 8, 2022

“Struck down while playing his part in the democratic process,” UK Foreign Minister Liz Truss wrote commenting on the murder of Shinzo Abe.

Shocked to learn of the death of former PM Abe – struck down while playing his part in the democratic process.

A tragic loss of a great figure who helped transform Japan and forge even closer bonds with the UK. ��������

— Liz Truss (@trussliz) July 8, 2022

Boris Johnson also extended his tribute to the murdered politician.

Incredibly sad news about Shinzo Abe.

His global leadership through unchartered times will be remembered by many. My thoughts are with his family, friends and the Japanese people.

The UK stands with you at this dark and sad time.

— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) July 8, 2022

Secretary-General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg said he was “deeply saddened by the heinous killing of Shinzo Abe”.

Deeply saddened by the heinous killing of Shinzo Abe, a defender of democracy and my friend & colleague over many years. My deepest condolences to his family, PM @kishida230 & the people
of #NATO’s partner #Japan at this difficult time.

— Jens Stoltenberg (@jensstoltenberg) July 8, 2022

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

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth said she was “deeply saddened” by the death of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The U.N. human rights council observed a minute of silence to pay tribute to former Prime Minister of Japan.

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