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Shinzo Abe: Japan’s former prime minister dies after being shot

Shinzo Abe: Japan’s former prime minister dies after being shot

J

apan’s former prime minister Shinzo Abe has died after being shot during a campaign speech, according to local media.

Mr Abe, 67, who remains Japan’s longest serving prime minister after his resignation in 2020, was shot from behind while speaking at an event in the western city of Nara.

He was taken to hospital and was said to be in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest. His death was first reported by the public broadcaster NHK.

NHK aired a dramatic video of Mr Abe giving a speech outside a train station. He is standing, dressed in a navy blue suit, raising his fist, when two gunshots are heard. The video then shows Abe collapsed on the street, with security guards running toward him. He holds his chest, his shirt smeared with blood.

The shooting of Mr Abe has prompted shock and condemnation both in Japan and overseas.

Police said a 41-year-old man suspected of carrying out the shooting had been arrested at the scene.

Earlier, current prime minister Fumio Kishida said that while “everything that can be done is being done”, Mr Abe was in a “grave condition”.

Mr Kishida added that the “act of brutality” was “absolutely unforgivable”. He has asked all members of the cabinet to return to Tokyo. Elections to Japan’s upper house are due to be held on Sunday.

Leaders in Japan and across the world have reacted with shock to the news.

In Tokyo, people stopped on the street to grab extra editions of newspapers or watch TV coverage of the shooting.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the killing of Mr Abe was “incredibly sad”, adding: “His global leadership through unchartered times will be remembered by many.”

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said the news was “beyond tragic”.

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he was “deeply saddened by the heinous killing of Shinzo Abe, a defender of democracy and my friend & colleague over many years.”

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