Friday, 31 March, 2023
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Ex-Japan PM Shinzo Abe assassinated by gunman, ‘bullet reached his heart,’ say doctors

The suspect, 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami, told police he was dissatisfied by Abe and wanted to kill him.

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New Delhi: Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe died in hospital Friday after being fatally shot during an election speech in the city of Nara, in western Japan.

The country’s longest-serving prime minister was 67.

While addressing a crowd in a street, Abe was dramatically fired from behind with a shotgun.

A bleeding Abe was taken to hospital in an unconscious state, amid reports that he was in a state of cardio-respiratory arrest.

The suspected has been identified as Tetsuya Yamagami, a resident of Nara city, who is in his 40s.

Shortly before Abe passed, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida could barely control his emotions when he said Abe was in a grave condition.

He said: “This attack is an act of brutality that happened during the elections — the very foundation of our democracy — and is absolutely unforgivable.”

Officials had said that Abe was in a state of cardiac arrest when he was airlifted to the hospital. He was wounded on the right side of his neck and left clavicle.

Japanese television showed Abe’s wife Akie on her way to the hospital by train.

Forty-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami told the police that he was dissatisfied with Abe and wanted to kill him, according to Japanese broadcaster NHK.

He caught Abe from behind when he was delivering a campaign speech outside a train station. Two shots rang out around 11.30 am local time.

This was the first assassination of a sitting or former Japanese premier since the days of prewar militarism in the 1930s.

At a press meet after the premier passed, doctors treating him at Nara Medical University said the bullet that killed Abe was “deep enough to reach his heart”.

They could not stop the bleeding, the doctors said.

Shinzo Abe, the politician

The Liberal Democratic Party leader has twice been Japan’s prime minister. The first time was in 2006, when he became the youngest premier of post-war Japan at the age of 52.

But a year later, the party lost an Upper House election, and Abe resigned due to deteriorating health.

After his condition improved, Abe led his party to a landslide victory in 2012 in the Lower House election and became prime minister the second time. He stepped down in 2020, once again due to ill health. Abe remained an influential leader in his party.

Abe comes from a strong political lineage. His grandfather Kishi Nobusuke was prime minister between 1957 and 1960. His father Shintaro Abe was foreign minister from 1982 to 86.

Abe’s economic policies post the 2008/9 depression is popularly referred to as “Abenomics” that pulled Japan out of long periods of low and negative growth.

The Japanese government issued 10.3 trillion yen to spend on infrastructure, promoting investment and spending to raise the GDP.

The government under Abe also brought in liquidity in the economy. The Bank of Japan purchased assets with the aim to hit the target rate of two percent.

As part of the economic policies during Abe’s leadership, the government overhauled various sectors and made its market competitive.

The government also boosted Japan’s falling birth rate and brought more women into the workforce.

Also read: Why the shooting of Shinzo Abe is a huge shock for Japan and the world


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