Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shot in Japan

Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shot in Japan

The former prime minister Shinzo Abe was hit during a speech in the western city of Nara. A man was arrested and a shotgun was seized.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, 67, was shot during a speech in the city of Nara, in western Japan, on Friday morning (8).

Abe was attacked around 11:30 am near Yamato-Saidaiji station and crashed. The image shows the former prime minister on the floor, with his hands on his chest and in a bloody shirt.

At least two shots were fired, a reporter for the state news agency NHK reported, but it is unclear whether Abe was hit twice.

A helicopter took the former premier, apparently unconscious, to Nara University Hospital.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said he was unaware of Abe’s condition. “A barbaric act like this is absolutely unforgivable, no matter what the reasons, and we strongly condemn it,” he said.

Local fire department official Makoto Morimoto said Abe was in cardiac arrest, the same information reported by “Kyodo News”. NHK spoke of “heart failure”, which means that the heart is unable to pump enough blood and provide the necessary oxygen to the rest of the body.

Local media said one suspect was detained for attempted murder: a 42-year-old man. According to Japanese media, the gunman is a former member of the Japanese Navy.

Police said they also recovered the weapon used in the attack. Local media said it was a homemade shotgun.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who belongs to the same political party as Abe, said the former prime minister was hospitalized in serious condition.

“I am praying from the bottom of my heart that Abe survives this ordeal,” said Kishida.

8 years in power

Abe was in power for eight years and stepped down in September 2021. He was Japan’s longest-serving head of government. His successor—the country’s 100th prime minister—is Fumio Kishida, a former foreign minister, elected in October 2021.

Upon resigning, Abe pleaded for health reasons. He suffers from chronic ulcerative colitis, a disease that had previously ousted him from power on another occasion, in 2007.

“I have devoted myself wholeheartedly to economic recovery and diplomacy to protect Japan’s national interest every day since we returned to power,” Abe said at the time.

He still dominates the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and controls one of its main factions.

Abe became known abroad for his economic recovery strategy, known as “Abenomics”, in which he blended monetary easing, major budget reactivation, and structural reforms.