New York Times Live Update: Shinzo Abe, 67, Dies After Being Shot During Speech

The former prime minister of Japan was assassinated on Friday in the city of Nara. He served in the office longer than anyone before stepping down in 2020.

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Shinzo Abe, the former prime minister of Japan, lying mortally wounded on the ground in Nara on Friday.
Shinzo Abe, the former prime minister of Japan, lying mortally wounded on the ground in Nara on Friday.Kyodo News, via Associated Press

Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, died on Friday at 67, after being shot while campaigning for a candidate ahead of national elections.
The Japanese Fire and Disaster Management Agency said that Mr. Abe had sustained a gunshot wound to his right neck and left chest.

The police arrested a suspect, Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, on an initial charge of attempted murder before Mr. Abe’s death was announced.

Shinzo Abe is a third-generation nationalist leader who, in eight years at the country’s helm starting in 2012, sought to revive Japan’s stagnant economy and restore some of the country’s militarism and pride.

During his two terms the 67-year-old conservative prime minister faced steep opposition for his push for a more muscular military and his bid to revise a pacifist clause in the country’s Constitution, which had been imposed by the United States after World War II. He stepped down in 2020, after a resurgence of a chronic illness, ulcerative colitis.

Footage shared on social media showed the scene after Shinzo Abe, the former prime minister of Japan, collapsed and was left unconscious after he was shot while giving a speech in western Japan.Kyodo News, via Associated Press

Videos shared on social media showed the scene moments after Shinzo Abe was shot, at a three-way junction in the city of Nara.

A number of people, many of them in orange campaign shirts, some kneeling, were crowded together near a red box, on which Mr. Abe apparently had been standing when we was shot while giving a campaign speech. A crying woman was escorted away. Mr. Abe could not be clearly seen.

It was the most prosaic of political scenes: a major party broker speaking on behalf of a loyal fellow politician two days before a parliamentary election.

Shinzo Abe, the former prime minister, was stumping behind a traffic barrier on a street near a train station in Nara, the ancient capital of Japan, on behalf of Kei Sato, a fellow member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Shaking his fist and shouting into a microphone, Mr. Abe praised the 43-year-old Upper House incumbent as a hope for the future of Japanese politics.

Iran’s foreign ministry called Abe’s assassination an “act of terrorism.” In a statement, Nasser Kanani, the ministry’s spokesman, said, “As a country that has been a victim of terrorism and has lost great leaders to terrorists, we are following the news closely and with concern.”

Speaking to reporters, Fumio Kishida praised Abe’s achievements concerning peace and stability in both Japan and the world. He added that free and fair elections should absolutely be protected.

Fumio Kishida, Japan’s prime minister said, “An act of cowardly barbarism has stolen Prime Minister Abe’s life. It is absolutely unallowable, and I once again condemn it with the strongest words.”

Mourners have begun placing flowers near the site where Abe was assassinated in Nara, Japan.

President Emmanuel Macron of France said on Twitter on Friday that “Japan has lost a great Prime Minister, who dedicated his life to his country and worked for world balance.”

“Mr. Abe was greatly admired by many Filipinos,” the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs wrote on Twitter. “We thank him for his key role in the strengthening of Philippines-Japan relations and for establishing a very deep bond of friendship with our country.”

Taiwan’s foreign ministry called Abe the island’s “precious democratic partner” and its “staunchest friend.” He had recently published an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times calling on the United States to make clear in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that it would defend the self-governed island against any attempted invasion by Beijing.

When Shinzo Abe was prime minister of Japan, he worked assiduously to bring the historically strained relationship between Beijing and Tokyo to a more even keel. But in recent months, Mr. Abe had become increasingly vocal in his criticism of Beijing and support for Taiwan, a self-governed island claimed by Beijing.

In offering his condolences on Twitter, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said, “This heinous act of violence has no excuse.”

“At today’s cabinet meeting we paused to reflect on this dark day for Japanese democracy,” said Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands on Twitter, calling the attack on Abe cowardly. “I have fond memories of our friendship and the work we did together,” he said.

Describing Abe as a “protagonist in recent Japanese and international politics” and praising him for “his innovative spirit, his reforming vision,” Prime Minister Mario Draghi said that Italy was “shocked by the terrible attack, which affects Japan, its free democratic debate.” Mr. Draghi said Italy was “close to his loved ones, to the government and the entire Japanese people.”

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“Our thoughts are with all Japanese people at this very sad time,” said Simon Coveney, the Irish foreign and defense minister, on Twitter.

President Yoon Suk-yeol of South Korea sent a telegram to Abe’s wife, expressing his “condolences and sympathy to the bereaved family and the people of Japan over the loss of its longest-serving former prime minister and a respected politician,” his office said. Yoon called the attack an “intolerable act of crime.”

Prime Minister Petr Fiala of the Czech Republic said on Twitter that he was “deeply saddened” and sent his prayers to his family and the people of Japan.

Yair Lapid, the prime minister of Israel, said his country is mourning Abe’s death. “He was a fierce & distinguished leader and a key architect of modern Israel-Japan relations,” Mr. Lapid wrote on Twitter.

Shinzo Abe with President Barack Obama at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial in 2016.
Shinzo Abe with President Barack Obama at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial in 2016.Doug Mills/The New York Times

Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson of Sweden said on Twitter that “Sweden stands in sympathy and solidarity with Japan, our close friend and partner, at this difficult time.”

“France expresses its deepest sympathy and solidarity with Japan after the heinous assassination,” the French foreign ministry said in a statement, and that the country “expresses its sincere condolences to his family, his loved ones and the Japanese people.”

Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany said, “We stand even in these difficult hours close to Japan.”

Theresa May, Britain’s former prime minister, said on Twitter that Abe was “a statesman of the highest calibre. A dependable partner and trusted ally. A consummate host. But also the warmest and kindest of friends.”

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey called Abe a dear friend and wrote on Twitter, “I condemn those who carried out this heinous attack.”

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization called Abe “an outstanding champion for #HealthForAll.”

Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, sent his condolences to Abe’s family. “I will never understand the brutal killing of this great man,” he said on Twitter. “Japan, Europeans mourn with you.”

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission called the assassination of Shinzo Abe a “brutal and cowardly murder” and said on Twitter, “A wonderful person, great democrat and champion of the multilateral world order has passed away.”
Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary general, writing on Twitter, called Abe, “a defender of democracy and my friend and colleague over many years.”

Shinzo Abe was pronounced dead at 5:03 pm. Based on his wounds, it appeared he had been shot from the front, said Hidetada Fukushima, of Nara Medical University Hospital. Witnesses had said they saw the gunman approaching from behind. Fukushima said there was what appeared to be an exit wound on Abe’s left shoulder. More than 20 medical personnel worked on the former prime minister.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he was “shocked and saddened” by Abe’s death. “He was a great friend and ally to Australia,” he said on Twitter. “Deepest sympathies to his family and the people of Japan. We mourn with you.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India said on Twitter that he was “shocked and saddened beyond words” at Abe’s death. “He was a towering global statesman, an outstanding leader, and a remarkable administrator,” Mr. Modi wrote. “He dedicated his life to make Japan and the world a better place.”

Abe received over 100 units of blood in transfusions over four hours as he hemorrhaged from a wound in the heart, said Hidetada Fukushima, the professor in charge of emergency medicine at Nara Medical University Hospital. He arrived at the hospital in cardiopulmonary arrest and was never revived.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain said on Twitter: “Incredibly sad news about Shinzo Abe. 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.”

Dr. Fukushima said that Abe suffered two bullet wounds and that doctors did not find any bullets during the efforts to save him.

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Shinzo Abe arrived at the hospital at 12:20 p.m. on Friday and was showing no vital signs. He had two small wounds to the neck, and the bullet traveled to his heart, said Hidetada Fukushima, the professor in charge of emergency medicine at Nara Medical University Hospital. Doctors tried to stop the bleeding and did a blood transfusion but could not resuscitate him. He died shortly after 5 p.m.

Foreign Minister Park Jin of South Korea expressed his condolences over the “shocking news” about Mr. Abe when he met with his Japanese counterpart, Yoshimasa Hayashi, during a Group of Twenty meeting in Bali, Indonesia, according to the South Korean Foreign Ministry.

Newspapers were handed out in Tokyo on Friday.
Newspapers were handed out in Tokyo on Friday.Kimimasa Mayama/EPA, via Shutterstock

Kazunori Mitsuhata, a spokesperson with the Marine Self Defense Forces, as Japan’s Navy is known, said that a person with the same name as the suspect, Tetsuya Yamagami, “worked” for the forces from 2002 to 2005. The MSDF is still trying to confirm if this person was the suspect.

Akie Abe, the wife of Shinzo Abe, arrived on Friday at the hospital where Mr. Abe was being treated, according to video footage aired by the local media. Mr. Abe was still not showing any vital signs.

President Emmanuel Macron of France said on Friday that he was “deeply shocked by the heinous attack” on Mr. Abe. “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of a great Prime Minister,” Mr. Macron wrote on Twitter. “France stands by the Japanese people.”

Tackling the suspect after Shinzo Abe was shot on Friday. He had tossed aside what appeared to be a crude gun.
The Asahi Shimbun, via Getty Images

The attack on former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan was especially shocking because it involved a gun — a type of crime that is extremely rare in a country with some of the most stringent laws around buying and owning a firearm.

In Japan, 10 shootings that contributed to death, injury or property damage were reported in 2021, according to statistics from the country’s National Police Agency. Of those gun-related episodes, one person was killed and four others were injured. The figures do not include accidents or suicides.

Zhao Lijian, spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, said at a regularly scheduled news briefing on Friday that Beijing was “shocked” by the shooting of Shinzo Abe. “We are monitoring the situation and hope that former Prime Minister Abe recovers as soon as possible,” he said. “We would of course be willing to offer sympathy to his family.”

Nobuo Kishi, Japan’s defense minister and the brother of Shinzo Abe, said of the shooting on Friday: “This is a profanity against democracy. Especially suppression of free speech should not be allowed in the midst of the upper house election. We pray for his definite recovery.”

AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara

Who killed Shinzo Abe and how former Japanese PM battled for life for hours? 10 points

Shinzo Abe killed: Killer Yamagami Tetsuya said he was not satisfied with the former prime minister but he also said he did not hold any grudge against Shinzo Abe’s political beliefs.

Forner Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe died on Friday hours after he was shot as he was campaigning for the election in Japan’s Nara by Yamagami Tetsuya, a 41-year-old man. Shinzo Abe was taken to the hospital at 12.20pm (local time) and was declared dead at 5.03pm. He was in a state of cardiac arrest and showed no vital signs. There were bullet wounds on his neck and chest. One bullet appeared to have entered through his left shoulder, reports said.


Yamagami, who is 41, as per reports, used a home-made shotgun to assasinate Abe. Police reportedly said that he has confessed revealing that he wanted to kill the politician because he was ‘dissatisfied’ with him.
As per Fuji TV, the alleged shooter is a had been in the service till 2005. However, officials are yet to make an official announcement.

Tetsuya Yamagami, a navy veteran, was taken into custody for attempted murder immediately after Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister, was shot at in the city of Nara around 11.30 AM local time on Friday

hat is the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force?
Also referred to as the Japanese navy, according to its official website, the force in its current form is based on the National Security Strategy approved in December 2013 and the National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG) approved in December 2018.

Reuters quoted a witness to the attack telling NHK that the alleged shooter, a resident of Nara city, did not attempt to escape after the shooting.

Shinzo Abe’s latest posts on twitter are related to the election campaign and candidates hi supported.

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