Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Passes Away at 67
posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
NHK reported on Friday that former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe died at 5:03 p.m. local time after being shot while giving a speech in the city of Nara on Friday. He was 67.
NHK reported that witnesses heard what sounded like two gunshots while Abe was giving a stump speech outside of Yamato-Saidaiji station in Nara city at around 11:30 a.m. local time, and then Abe reportedly collapsed. Police sources state Abe was likely hit from behind by gunfire. Emergency personnel told NHK that Abe was taken to the hospital without vital signs. The disaster management agency stated Abe was bleeding from the right side of his neck and had internal bleeding in the left side of his chest.
Medical professionals at Nara Medical University Hospital where Abe was brought said in a press conference that Abe had two gunshot wounds in his neck. The medical staff added he arrived at the hospital at 12:20 p.m. without vital signs. Abe sustained damage to his heart vessel in addition to the wounds in his neck, and the staff performed blood transfusions, but could not stop the bleeding. The staff added the cause of death appears to be blood loss.
Police arrested 41-year-old suspect Tetsuya Yamagami, who lives in Nara city. Video footage from the incident shows authorities apprehending someone on the scene. NHK reports that Yamagami was a former member of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force for three years until 2005. News reports state the gun used in the attack looks to be handmade, but police have not yet confirmed if this is the case.
Japan is planning to hold a House of Councillors election on Sunday, and Abe was campaigning for a local candidate in Nara.
Current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters he "[condemned] the act in the strongest possible terms."
Many Japanese television channels have been interrupting planned programming throughout the day on Friday to cover the incident.
Abe served as prime minister from 2006 to 2007, and then from 2012 to 2020. He stepped down both times due to health issues, and is Japan's longest-serving prime minister. Abe is known for his "Abenomics" policy aimed at revitalizing Japan's economy.
Abe famously cosplayed as iconic character Mario during the Olympic Closing Ceremony in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, to advertise the then-upcoming Tokyo Olympics in 2020 (which was held in 2021 due to the pandemic).
Image via Liberal Democratic Party
Source: NHK TV channel
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