Japan’s Shinzo Abe dies after being shot at campaign event

  • Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest serving prime minister, has died after being shot in the city of Nara while campaigning for a parliamentary election, local media reports.
  • Incumbent Prime Minister Fumio Kishida says Abe, 67, is in a grave condition.
  • According to reports, Abe appeared to be in a state of cardiac arrest when airlifted to hospital, after having initially been conscious and responsive.
  • Police say a 41-year-old man suspected of carrying out the shooting has been arrested.
  • The attack has prompted shock and condemnation worldwide.

Here are the latest updates:

France’s Macron: Japan has lost a great prime minister in Abe

Japan has lost a great prime minister, said French President Emmanuel Macron in a tribute to Abe.

“Japan has lost a great prime minister, who dedicated his life to his country and worked to ensure order in the world,” Macron said on Twitter.

French President Emmanuel Macron said that prime minister in Shinzo Abe dedicated his life to Japan [File: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP] (AFP)

In mostly gun-free nation, Japanese stunned by Abe killing

Japan has struggled with shock and sadness, trying to come to terms with the assassination of Abe in a nation where firearms are strictly regulated and political violence extremely rare.

From Abe protege Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to ordinary people on social media, there was an outpouring of grief in a nation where political violence is so rare the last time a former or sitting prime minister was killed was nearly 90 years ago.

“I am incredibly shocked,” Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike told a regular news conference before Abe’s death was announced, fighting back tears and sniffling audibly.

“No matter the reason, such a heinous act is absolutely unforgivable. It is an affront against democracy,” he added.

Nara Police officers direct pedestrians
Japan’s gun-ownership restrictions do not allow private citizens to have handguns, and licensed hunters may own only rifles [Hiro Komae/AP]

Blinken mourns Japan’s Abe as ‘leader of great vision’

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has mourned slain Abe as a visionary leader who boosted relations between the two allies.

Meeting his Japanese and South Korean counterparts jointly at a G20 meeting in Bali, Blinken called Abe “a leader with great vision” who “brought the relationship between our countries, the United States and Japan, to new heights”.

Antony Blinken
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken  called Abe “a leader with great vision” [File: Michael Sohn/AP]

Chinese embassy in Japan voices condolences on death of Abe

The Chinese embassy in Japan has expressed condolences over the death of Abe in a shooting attack.

“Former Prime Minister Abe made contributions towards improving China-Japan relations during his term. We express our condolences on his death and send our sympathies to his family,” an embassy spokesman said on the embassy website.


South Korea president Yoon sends condolences

South Korea President Yoon Suk-yeol has sent condolences to Akie Abe, following Abe’s death in the Friday shooting.

“I send my condolences to the bereaved families and Japanese people who have lost the longest-serving prime minister and respected politician in Japan’s constitutional history,” Yoon was quoted as saying in a statement delivered by the presidential office.

Yoon added that the shooting was “an unforgivable act of crime.”

Yoon Suk-yeol
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has sent condolences to former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s wife, Akie [File: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg]

Italy ‘shocked’ by death of Shinzo Abe: PM

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said that his country was “shocked by the terrible attack” on Abe.

“Italy is shocked by this terrible attack that hits Japan and its free democratic debate,” he said in a message of condolence.


Taiwan has lost a close friend, president says of Abe death

The world has lost an important leader and Taiwan has lost a friend, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has said on Friday after Abe died.

“Not only has the international community lost an important leader, but Taiwan has also lost an important and close friend.

“Taiwan and Japan are both democratic countries with the rule of law, and our government severely condemns violent and illegal acts,” Tsai said in a statement released by her office.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said her country has lost a close friend with the death of Abe [File: Chiang Ying-ying/AP]

France expresses its solidarity with Japan after killing of ex-PM Abe

France expresses its full solidarity with Japan after the killing of Abe, the French Foreign Affairs Ministry has said.


Germany says it is at Japan’s side after Abe dies

Germany is at Japan’s side, a German government spokesperson has said in response to news that Abe died hours after he was shot while campaigning for a parliamentary election.


Shinzo Abe: Japan’s longest-serving prime minister

Shinzo Abe smashed records as Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, championing ambitious economic reform and forging key diplomatic relationships while weathering scandals.

Abe was a sprightly 52 when he first became prime minister in 2006, the youngest person to occupy the job in the postwar era.

He was seen as a symbol of change and youth, but also brought the pedigree of a third-generation politician groomed from birth by an elite, conservative family.

Abe’s first term was turbulent, plagued by scandals and discord, and capped by an abrupt resignation.

After initially suggesting he was stepping down for political reasons, he acknowledged he was suffering an ailment later diagnosed as ulcerative colitis.

Abe
Nearly two years after poor health forced him to leave office, the 67-year-old was shot during a campaign event in the western region of Nara on Friday [File: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

PM Johnson says Britain stands with Japan after Abe’s death

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that Britain stood with Japan at this dark time following the “incredibly sad news” about the death of Abe in a shooting.

“Incredibly sad news about Shinzo Abe,” he said on Twitter. “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.”


Polish PM Morawiecki ‘deeply shocked’ by Abe killing

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has said he was shocked by the death of Abe.

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


Former Japan PM Abe dead after shooting: local media

Abe has been confirmed dead at hospital, public broadcaster NHK and Jiji news agency reported.

“According to a senior LDP (Liberal Democratic Party) official, former prime minister Abe died at a hospital in Kashihara city, Nara region, where he was receiving medical treatment. He was 67,” NHK said.


Macron ‘profoundly shocked’

French President Emmanuel Macron has said he is “profoundly shocked by the despicable attack” on Abe.

“Thoughts for the friends and family of a great prime minister. France stands with the Japanese people,” he wrote on Twitter.


Abe’s wife on way to hospital

The NHK public broadcaster has showed live footage of Abe’s wife, Akie, on her way by train to the hospital in Nara where he is being treated.


World reacts to shooting

Leaders from around the world have condemned the attack against Abe.

Read more here.


‘Act of brutality’

Kishida has told reporters Abe was in a critical condition.

“Everything that can be done is being done to revive him. I’m praying from the depths of my heart that his life will be saved,” he said, adding he was not aware of any motive.

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

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida meets the press at his office in Tokyo, after former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot in Na
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida addresses reporters after the shooting [Kyodo via Reuters]

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