Friday, 31 March, 2023
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Former Japan PM Shinzo Abe shot, suspect identified as Tetsuya Yamagami, resident of Nara city

Abe was rushed to a hospital bleeding after collapsing while delivering a speech. A sound like a gunshot was heard at the time, and a male suspect has been detained.

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New Delhi: Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot Friday morning while delivering a speech on a street in the city of Nara, western Japan, according to Japan’s public broadcaster NHK.

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

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

Yamagami was arrested and brought to Nara Nishi police station. The police also confiscated the gun, which appears to be handmade.

Abe suffered an injury to the right side of his neck and was bleeding internally in his chest as a result of the gunshot, news agency Kyodo quoted the Japanese Fire and Disaster Management Agency.

While the motive of the attack is still unknown, Japanese news agency NHK said the shooter worked for the Maritime Self-Defense Force for three years until 2005.

The incident occurred around 11.30 am (8.30 am IST). Abe was making a campaign speech on a street ahead of Sunday’s House of Councillors elections, when he was shot.

An NHK reporter on the scene said two consecutive bangs were heard during Abe’s speech. It is reported that the attacker shot him from behind while Abe was speaking. His security personnel were seen rushing to his aid, in videos and pictures captured.

Kyodo said the former PM was unconscious and appeared to be in cardio respiratory arrest.

The 67-year-old was not showing any vital signs in hospital, news agency AFP said, quoting the Japanese media.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said that he did not know of Abe’s current condition. “Such an act of barbarity cannot be tolerated,” he said while addressing the media on Friday morning.

A witness to the attack told NHK that the shooter did not attempt to escape after the assault. He instead laid down the gun and remained on the spot and he was caught by security personnel.

Abe was in the city to support a candidate in this weekend’s Upper House election.

The local Liberal Democratic Party office said Abe’s appearance was decided on Thursday night and those details were later released to supporters.

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said former premier Shinzo Abe was in a “very grave condition”. “I pray that former prime minister Abe will survive,” Kishida said. “It is a barbaric act during election campaigning, which is the foundation of democracy, and it is absolutely unforgivable. I condemn this act in the strongest terms.” Kishida left campaigning and headed back to Tokyo after hearing of the incident.

Japan’s Prime Minister also said the ex-leader was in a “severe condition”, and hoped he would pull through.

We are shocked and saddened to hear about the violent attack against former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. We are closely monitoring the reports and keeping our thoughts with his family and the people of Japan: White House

Modi expresses ‘distress’ over attack on ‘dear friend’.

EU chief Michel ‘shocked and saddened by cowardly attack’ on former Japan PM Abe

The US ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emanuel, said Friday he was “shocked” by the shooting of an “outstanding leader”. “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 an unwavering ally of the United States. The US Government and American people are praying for the well-being of Abe-san, his family, and people of Japan,” Emanuel said in a statement.

Also read: Taiwan invasion would be ‘economic suicide’ for China, says former Japan PM Shinzo Abe


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