In pictures: Ex-Japanese PM Shinzo Abe murdered and how it happened

People pay respects at the site where former Japan PM Shinzo Abe was shot in Nara on July 8, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO - Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has died after being shot twice on Friday morning at a campaign rally in the city of Nara in Western Japan. He was rushed to the hospital but doctors failed to revive him. He was pronounced dead shortly after 5pm in Tokyo.

Mr Abe, 67, was shot at around 11.30am in Nara while he was making a campaign speech for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) ahead of Parliament's Upper House elections on Sunday.

This video filmed by Japanese public broadcaster NHK showed Mr Abe making a speech before a crowd when shots rang out from behind him. Photographs showed him collapsing on the road with blood staining his chest. He was shot twice from behind with a homemade double-barrelled shotgun, the media cited police as saying.

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A still frame from a video showing the gun purportedly used to shoot Mr Abe on July 8, 2022. PHOTO: NHK

According to eyewitness accounts, the first gun shot was heard when a man approached Mr Abe from behind. Then a second shot was heard, at which point he fell to the ground.

Another video by Reuters showed a fire engine arriving at the crime scene and security officers tackling the suspected gunman before ushering him into a vehicle.

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Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, was identified as the suspected gunman. He did not try to run away when arrested, NHK reported.

He told police he was dissatisfied with Mr Abe and wanted to kill him. He was charged with attempted murder.

Security officers tackle suspected gunman Tetsuya Yamagami outside Yamato-Saidaiji Station in Nara on July 8, 2022. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
This screengrab shows the suspect, Tetsuya Yamagami, being held by security officers in Nara on July 8, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

Yamagami also said he had a grudge against an unspecified organisation and believed that Mr Abe had links to the group, the Nikkei newspaper cited a police official as saying. 

Though his current occupation is unknown, he was reported to have served in the Maritime Self-Defence Force from 2002 to 2005 at the Kure base in Hiroshima Prefecture.

He told police that he had located Mr Abe through a campaign schedule that was posted on a website and took the train there, Nikkei reported.

After the shooting incident, Nara police raided Yamagami's residence and obtained several other objects that were thought to be handmade guns.

Riot policemen leave the house of suspect Tetsuya Yamagami following a search in Nara on July 8, 2022. PHOTO: EPA-EFE/JIJI PRESS

Mr Abe was airlifted to Nara Medical University Hospital, where he was given more than 100 units of blood in transfusions over four hours, professor of emergency medicine at Nara Medical University hospital Hidetada Fukushima told a news conference.

Prof Hidetada said Mr Abe arrived at the hospital in a state of cardiac arrest and that he had bled to death from deep wounds to the heart and the right side of his neck.

"Resuscitation was administered. However, unfortunately he died at 5.03pm," he told reporters.

Kimihiko Kichikawa (left), the head of the university hospital, and Hidetada Fukushima (second from left), professor of emergency medicine, from the Nara Medical University Hospital, hold a press conference. PHOTO: AFP
Nara Medical University Hospital where Mr Abe was taken after he was shot. PHOTO: REUTERS

Mr Abe's wife Akie Abe was seen arriving at the hospital earlier on Friday afternoon before he was declared dead.

Akie Abe (centre), wife of Mr Abe, arrives at Yamato-Saidaiji Station of Kintetsu Railway in Nara. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Later in the day, dozens of people paid their respect and laid flowers outside the Yamato-Saidaiji train station in Nara at the scene where Mr Abe was shot.

Well-wishers placed flowers and prayed at the site where Mr Abe was shot. PHOTO: AFP
A person prays next to flowers laid at the site where Mr Abe was shot. PHOTO: REUTERS
People pray at the site of Mr Abe's shooting near Yamato-Saidaiji station. PHOTO: REUTERS

As Japan's longest-serving prime minister, Mr Abe was known for expanding his country's role in the global stage, giving more teeth to its defence and shifting its constitution from years of pacifism.

He played a key role in the formation of Quad, a loose coalition of Japan, India, Australia and the United States created to counter China's rising influence.

Under Mr Abe, Japan joined the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement signed by 12 Pacific Rim countries, including the US on Feb 4, 2016.

After the US withdrew from the TPP, Mr Abe led the revival of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

A file picture from March 15, 2013, shows Mr Abe at a press conference in Tokyo. PHOTO: AFP

He first took office in 2006 as Japan's youngest prime minister in the post-war era.

After stepping down due to ill health just one year into office, he returned to Parliament and led his conservative LDP - ousted in 2009 - back to power in 2012.

In a file photo from Dec 15, 2012, Mr Abe waves to supporters after speaking in Matsudo city, suburban Tokyo. PHOTO: AFP

As prime minister from 2012 to 2020, he launched "Abenomics", a three-pronged economic policy aimed to fight persistent deflation and revive economic growth with hyper-easy monetary policy and fiscal spending, along with structural reform to cope with a fast-ageing, shrinking population.

He also argued for Japan's military to be reinforced as it was faced with more hostile neighbours.

Mr Abe (centre) being greeted by Japan Coast Guard officers at the Tokyo port on Marine Day on July 20, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

Even after he resigned in 2020, Mr Abe remained influential within the LDP, heading the largest faction in the party.

Mr Abe's own grandfather, the late prime minister Kishi Nobusuke, was a survivor of an assassination attempt. Mr Kishi was stabbed six times by an assailant in 1960 after he passed a controversial treaty to become an equal security partner with the US.

An undated family picture of Mr Nobusuke Kishi, then Prime Minister of Japan, and his wife Ryoko in a kimono, with their grandsons Shinzo Abe and Hironobu Abe (on the lap of his grandfather). PHOTO: AFP

Appearing to be fighting back tears, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio said he had "no words" to describe his feelings towards Mr Abe's death, adding that he has lost a personal friend whom he spent a lot of time with.

He said Mr Abe has left behind an "invaluable legacy" and had led the country with strong leadership.

Mr Kishida speaks to journalists at his official residence in Tokyo on July 8 2022. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Mr Kishida was on the campaign trail in Yamagata prefecture and had rushed back to Tokyo.

After Mr Abe's death was confirmed, Mr Kishida said Upper House elections will take place as scheduled on Sunday under tighter security.

In a Facebook post, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said: "Received with a heavy heart the news that Mr Abe has succumbed to his injuries and passed on. This is a deeply shocking and distressing incident. I offer my sincere condolences to Mrs Abe Akie, Mr Abe's loved ones, and the people of Japan."

The Japanese flag flying at half-mast at the Embassy of Japan in Singapore on July 8, 2022. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has condemned the Abe shooting as an "unpardonable act of crime" and expressed deep sorrow and shock, according to his office. Mr Yoon also sent condolences to Mr Abe's wife Akie.

"I express condolences and consolation to the bereaved family and to the Japanese people over the loss of a respected politician and the longest-serving prime minister in Japan's constitutional history," he said in a message to Mrs Abe.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry has also condemned the shooting as an "unacceptable violent crime" and expressed "deepest condolences" to Mr Abe's family and the people of Japan.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US is deeply saddened and concerned "about the attempt on the life of prime minister Abe", adding that "our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family, with the people of Japan".

The Chinese embassy in Japan said in a statement that Mr Abe had made contributions to the development and improvement of China-Japan relations during his tenure as Japan's prime minister, and extended condolences to his family.

Other leaders, such as Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and European Council President Charles Michel also conveyed their condolences.

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