Just before noon (local time) on Friday, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe passed out following a speech he gave in the Japanese city of Nara for a candidate of the Liberal Democratic Party’s election campaign.
Since they apparently heard “what sounded like a gun going off” at the time, a reporter for NHK, Japan’s official media agency, speculated that Abe, 67, may have been shot. Additionally, he was bleeding, the reporter claimed.
According to the outlet, the fire department reported Abe to be in “cardiopulmonary arrest” and that he will be taken to Nara Medical University Hospital in Kashihara City. He is not exhibiting any vital signs, according to a follow-up report from NHK.
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The 40-year-old guy was detained by police and is being questioned, according to NHK. He is suspected of trying to commit murder. A gun that the man was purportedly wielding was supposedly taken by authorities at the scene.
Emergency responders may be seen at the location in aerial photographs. The Office of the Prime Minister of Japan has been contacted by PEOPLE for more details.
The Washington Post’s bureau chief in Tokyo and Seoul, Michelle Ye Hee Lee, posted an update on Twitter with the following statement: “Giving an update on the Abe shooting is Japan’s, Chief Cabinet Secretary. here’s the thread: Abe was shot in Nara at roughly 11:30 am, and it’s currently unknown how he is currently doing.”
She said, “Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said the government is coordinating a reaction to the shooting. “He stated that it has been requested of all Cabinet members to return to Tokyo after any campaigning or campaign assistance. Matsuno declared that such aggression could not be tolerated. There will be more.”
Witnesses Describe a Man Carrying a “Big Pistol.”
Paramedics appear to be gathered around Mr. Abe in the middle of a street in videos that have been going viral on social media but which could not be independently authenticated. Now, it is said, he has been transferred to a hospital.
Eyewitnesses report seeing a man with what they described as heavy gunfire from behind as Mr. Abe was giving a stump speech for a candidate in Nara at the time of the attack.
The second shot struck Mr. Abe in the back whereas the first fire seemed to have missed. Instantly, he bled to death and collapsed to the ground. The perpetrator, who made no attempt to flee, was then apprehended by security.
According to reports from the police, the local news station NHK said that Mr. Abe was “awake and alert” while being transferred following the shooting. The broadcaster also mentioned that authorities had taken the attacker’s gun and recognized him.
The suspect’s handcrafted gun was also mentioned by NHK. According to accounts in the local media, the assailant is thought to have been a former soldier in Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force, the equivalent of the navy in the country.