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Former Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe Shot While Delivering Speech In Japan

Former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe lies on the ground after apparent shooting during an election campaign for the July 10, 2022 Upper House election, in Nara, western Japan July 8, 2022.

Japan's former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot as he gave a campaign speech on Friday in western Japan and airlifted to a hospital.

Local fire department official Makoto Morimoto said Abe was in cardiopulmonary arrest, or CPA, meaning he was not breathing and his heart had stopped, during the airlift.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters that police had arrested a male suspect at the scene of the attack. 

"A barbaric act like this is absolutely unforgivable, no matter what the reasons are, and we condemn it strongly," Matsuno said.

Current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who belongs to the same political party as Abe, returned to Tokyo by helicopter from his own campaign destination of Yamagata, in northern Japan.

He told reporters that Abe was "in a grave condition."

"As far as I've heard, everything that can be done is being done to revive him. I am praying from the depths of my heart that his life will be saved," Kishida said.

"I am not aware of the motives and background behind this attack, but this attack is an act of brutality that happened during the elections — the very foundation of our democracy — and is absolutely unforgivable."

Japan's public broadcaster NHK aired video of Abe collapsed on the street with several security guards running toward him.

He was reportedly shot a few minutes after he started talking outside a train station in western Nara.

In videos posted to social media at least two apparent gunshots can be heard as a man resembling Abe speaks, and a white plume of smoke is seen behind the former prime minister.

Police officers at the scene where former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot during a political event in Nara, Japan, July 8, 2022.

According to Japan's Kyodo news agency, Abe sustained gunshot wounds to his neck and chest.

NHK, quoting multiple military sources, said the suspect was employed for three years in Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force, until 2005.

The network described the weapon used in the attack as homemade.

Police said the suspect had told them he was dissatisfied with Abe and wanted to kill him.

Other videos posted online show campaign officials surrounding Abe in an apparent attempt to treat the popular former leader, who is still influential in the governing Liberal Democratic Party and heads its largest faction, Seiwakai. Elections for Japan's upper house, the less powerful chamber of its parliament, are Sunday.

The attack was a shock in a country that's one of the world's safest and has some of the strictest gun control laws anywhere.

The term heart failure means the heart cannot sufficiently pump blood and supply necessary oxygen to the rest of the body.

In Japan, officials sometimes use the term to describe situations where victims are no longer alive but before a formal declaration of death has been made.




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