August 17, 2022

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Abe on the floor.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is in critical condition after being shot during a campaign speech in western Japan on Friday, according to NHK public television.

Shinzo Abe being airlifted
Shinzo Abe being airlifted

The broadcaster showed footage of Abe collapsing on the street, surrounded by security guards. When Abe collapsed, he was holding his chest and his shirt was smeared with blood. According to NHK, Abe was rushed to the hospital.

Witnesses in Nara reported hearing gunshots during the apparent attack. He was standing while delivering an election campaign speech ahead of the parliament’s upper house election on Sunday.

According to NHK, police arrested a male suspect at the scene on suspicion of attempted murder.(AP)

According to MailOnline, Abe is feared dead following the attack because he was hit in the chest.

Abe, 67, is Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister, having served twice from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2012 to 2020. He was shot outside a train station in Nara, near Osaka, around 11.30 a.m. local time.

Firefighters who arrived on the scene said he had ‘no vital signs,’ and medics said he was ‘in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest.’

In Japan, that phrase is commonly used when someone has died but has not been officially pronounced by doctors.

Moment security operatives tackled the shooter
Moment security operatives tackled the shooter

Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, a military veteran, was tackled by security and arrested on suspicion of attempted murder at the scene, with police also seizing what appeared to be a homemade firearm.

Witnesses reported hearing two shots fired while Abe was giving a campaign speech ahead of the upper house election on Sunday.

He then collapsed, his shirt smeared with blood, clutching his chest.

It was a stunning development in a country known for its low levels of violent crime and strict gun laws, and it involved Japan’s most well-known politician.

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