Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Shot Dead During Speech

(Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon - Pool/Getty Images)

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
Font Size:

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was reportedly shot Friday during a campaign speech for a Japanese liberal Democratic Party candidate in the city of Nara. He later died from the injuries, according to multiple reports.

Abe, 67, collapsed at around 11:30 a.m. and was immediately transported to the hospital, where he went into cardiopulmonary arrest, NHK World-Japan reported.

He died from excessive bleeding at the Nara Medical University after a team of 20 medical professionals were unable to save his life, police said at a news conference Friday, according to CNN. The bullet was buried deep enough into the chest to reach his heart.

Dr. Hidetada Fukushima, a professor of emergency medicine, said Abe suffered from two gunshot wounds and showed no vital signs upon arrival, NBC News reported. The former prime minister was pronounced dead at 4:03 a.m. (eastern U.S. time).

Authorities said the former prime minister appeared to be hit in the chest by a shotgun, the outlet reported. An NHK reporter present at the campaign event said they heard two gunshots and witnessed the former prime minister bleeding. (RELATED: Shinzo Abe, Japan’s Longest- Serving Prime Minister, Announces His Resignation)

Police arrested a person of interest, reportedly in his 40s, for homicide, the outlet reported. They seized the gun that he allegedly held at the scene.

The incident occurred as Abe gave a speech in front of a railway station in support of the Liberal Democratic Party candidates ahead of the Upper House elections slated to take place Sunday, CNN reported. He had further planned to campaign in Kyoto and Saitama.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida paid his respects to Abe, emotionally saying at the press conference that he had “great respect” for his legacy support, CNN reported.

“I had been praying that he would somehow survive this, but our prayers were in vain, and to be receiving this news — I just have no words, only that I would like to offer my deepest condolences,” Kishida said, according to NBC.

President Joe Biden offered his condolences to Japan in a statement early Friday.

“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,” Biden said. “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.”

Shinzo is the country’s longest serving prime minister, holding office from 2006 to 2007 and then again from 2012 to 2020. He resigned from his position due to undergoing IV treatments for ulcerative colitis.

This is a developing story.