Japan’s Former Prime Minister Shizo Abe Assassinated
Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was fatally shot on Friday while campaigning for a candidate ahead of Japan’s national elections in Nara, near Kyoto.
Video is circulating on social media showing the horrifying moment Abe fell to the ground bleeding from gunshot wounds to his neck and back.
The 67-year-old was rushed to Nara Medical University Hospital, where doctors gave him a blood transfusion. At the same time, they tried to stop the bleeding, but ultimately Abe succumbed to his injury just after 5 pm.
Police arrested the suspected gunman, Tetsuya Yamagami, and charged him with the murder. Police recovered a homemade gun that Yamagami had been holding, according to local reports.
Current Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called the attack a “heinous act,” adding, “It is barbaric and malicious, and it cannot be tolerated.”
Abe was in Nara campaigning ahead of Sunday’s Upper House of Parliament elections. He was less than a minute into a speech in support of Kei Sato, when the shots rang out.
Abe’s assassination came in spite of Japan having one of the world’s lowest rates of gun crimes due to strict laws on owning firearms. Japan, reported only nine gun-related deaths in 2018, compared with nearly 40,000 in the U.S. that same year.
Abe was Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, serving two terms, from 2006 to 2007 and 2012 to 2020. He resigned in 2020 due to health concerns.
Presidents Trump and Obama both had good relationships with Abe. Trump met with Abe several times while in office and maintained a strong alliance between their countries. In 2016, Obama and Abe made a historic visit to Pearl Harbor to honor the lives lost there during World War II.