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Former Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe fatally shot in shock attack

Japan Obit Shinzo Abe
Posted at 2:22 AM, Jul 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-08 10:13:24-04

Japan's former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe died on Friday after being shot, officials said.

Abe was shot while giving a campaign speech in western Japan on Friday. Local fire department official Makoto Morimoto said the 67-year-old Abe was not breathing and his heart stopped while being airlifted to a hospital.

Current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his Cabinet ministers were returning to Tokyo from campaign stops around the country after the shooting. Police arrested a male suspect at the scene of the shooting in Nara.

The suspect told police that he had a grudge against Abe, Japanese outlet NHK reported.

NHK aired footage showing Abe collapsed on the street, with several security guards running toward him. He was bleeding and holding his chest.

NHK reported that Abe died about five hours after he was wounded.

Sources told NHK that the gun used appeared to be homemade.

Abe served two stints as prime minister, leading Japan's Liberal Democratic Party. He first was the nation's leader in 2006 and 2007. When his party lost seats in 2007, he decided to step down as leader of the party but remained in Japan's House of Representatives.

He returned to the top role in government in 2012 before retiring from government in mid-2020, citing declining health.

President Joe Biden released a statement following Abe's assassination:

I am stunned, outraged, and deeply saddened by the news that my friend Abe Shinzo, former Prime Minister of Japan, was shot and killed while campaigning. This is a tragedy for Japan and for all who knew him. I had the privilege to work closely with Prime Minister Abe. As Vice President, I visited him in Tokyo and welcomed him to Washington. He was a champion of the Alliance between our nations and the friendship between our people. The longest serving Japanese Prime Minister, his vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific will endure. Above all, he cared deeply about the Japanese people and dedicated his life to their service. Even at the moment he was attacked, he was engaged in the work of democracy. While there are many details that we do not yet know, we know that violent attacks are never acceptable and that gun violence always leaves a deep scar on the communities that are affected by it. The United States stands with Japan in this moment of grief. I send my deepest condolences to his family.

Joe Biden