Former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was wounded while campaigning in the city of Nara on Friday, according to a government official. According to NHK, he looked to have been shot from behind by a man with a shotgun.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno stated that he was unaware of Abe’s health. When brought to the hospital, Abe, 67, seemed to be in cardiac arrest, according to Kyodo and NHK.
NHK reported hearing gunfire and seeing a white cloud of smoke as Abe delivered a campaign address for Sunday’s upper house election at a railway station in the western city.
A correspondent from NHK on the location reported hearing two consecutive booms during Abe’s address.
Matsuno told a conference that Abe was shot at approximately 11:30 a.m. (0230 GMT), adding, “Such barbarism cannot be condoned.”
Abe was reportedly shot on the left side of his chest and also in the neck, as reported by TBS Television.
Abe completed two terms as prime minister, becoming him Japan’s longest-serving leader, before resigning in 2020 due to bad health.
However, he has maintained his dominance over the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) through dominating one of its key sections.
His protégé, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, enters Sunday’s upper house election aiming to emerge from Abe’s shadow and define his reign, according to pundits.
After Abe was shot, Kishida paused his election campaign and returned to Tokyo, according to media reports.
The United States ambassador, Rahm Emanuel, expressed sadness and astonishment over the assassination of a distinguished leader and faithful ally. He stated that the government and people of the United States were praying for Abe’s health.
Abe is best known for his “Abenomics” strategy, which emphasised aggressive monetary easing and fiscal spending.
After years of declines, he increased defence budget and enhanced the military’s ability to project power abroad.
His government revised the postwar, pacifist constitution in 2014, allowing troops to fight overseas for the first time since World War II.
The following year, a law abolished the prohibition on exercising the right to collective self-defense or defending an ally under attack.
Abe failed not achieve his long-held ambition of rewriting the U.S.-drafted constitution by inserting Japan’s military, known as the Self-Defense Forces, inside the pacifist Article 9.
He had a strong desire to preside over the Games, which were postponed from 2020 to 2021 due to the COVID-19 epidemic. He was essential in securing the 2020 Olympics for Tokyo.
In 2006, Abe became the youngest Japanese prime minister since World War II. Abe resigned citing bad health after a year marred by political scandals, voter wrath over stolen pension records, and a crushing electoral defeat for his ruling party.
In 2012, he became prime minister once more.
Abe is descended from an affluent political family that includes a foreign minister father and a premier great-uncle.