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Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was rushed to a hospital bleeding after being shot while giving a speech on a street in Nara in western Japan Friday, Japanese media reported.
Abe, 67, was unconscious and in cardiac arrest, according to Japanese media outlet Kyodo News.
He appeared to have no vital signs, local fire officials said, NHK reported. His condition has not been updated.
At the time Abe collapsed, a sound like a gunshot was heard, NHK reported. He appeared to have been shot from behind.
U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel said in a statement: “We are all saddened and shocked by the shooting of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo. Abe-san has been an outstanding leader of Japan and unwavering ally of the U.S. The U.S. Government and American people are praying for the well-being of Abe-san, his family, & people of Japan.”
He was making a campaign speech ahead of Sunday’s election for the parliament’s upper house.
A male suspect was detained at the scene and a gun was confiscated. NHK identified the suspect as Yamagami Tetsuya, 41.
Some of the candidates have reportedly canceled street speeches after reports of the shooting, Kyodo News reported.
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE/VIDEO
Abe is Japan’s longest-serving prime minister. He served from 2006 to 2007 and again in 2012 until he resigned in 2020 after his ulcerative colitis, a chronic condition, resurfaced, calling his decision at the time “gut-wrenching.”
During his term, he focused on the economy, rebuilding Japan’s military and being a larger player in international affairs.
He was succeeded by Fumio Kishida who reportedly plans to give a short briefing on the shooting at some point.
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This is a breaking story. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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