TOKYO (Reuters) – Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe collapsed and left unconscious after apparently being shot at on Friday while delivering a speech in western Japan, a fire official said.
Mr. Abe, 67, appeared to be bleeding after hearing a gunshot in the city of Nara, near Kyoto, according to a reporter for NHKPublic Broadcasting Corporation. Reports said Mr. Abe was shot in the chest or neck.
NHK, citing police, said the suspect, 42-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami, had been arrested. The report stated that he was a resident of Nara. Pictures circulated on social media showed a man being treated after the shooting near Yamatosidagi station.
Seigo Yasuhara, a command center official in the Nara Fire Department, said Mr. Abe was under cardiopulmonary arrest and was taken by ambulance to a medical evacuation helicopter. The Nara Fire Department said he was then taken to Nara Medical University Hospital.
Yasuhara said that Mr. Abe was unconscious and showed no vital signs.
Mr. Abe was country Longest serving Prime Minister He served two terms from 2006 to 2007 and from 2012 to 2020. He resigned in 2020 due to ill health.
The former prime minister of Nara was campaigning ahead of the Senate elections scheduled for Sunday. Mr. Abe was giving a campaign speech on behalf of Kei Sato, 43, the current senator running for re-election in Nara, when he was shot.
Fumio Kishida, the current prime minister, was on the campaign trail in Yamagata Prefecture and was due to return to Tokyo, where he was expected to speak to the media.
Hirokazu Matsuno, Chief Cabinet Secretary to Prime Minister Kishida, said a crisis management center has been set up in the Prime Minister’s Office.
Rahm Emmanuel US Ambassador to Japan. He said in a post on Twitter: “We are all sad and shocked,” adding, “Abe-san has been an outstanding leader of Japan and a steadfast ally of the United States. The United States government and the American people pray for the well-being of Abe-san and his family, and the people of Japan.”
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