Shinzo Abe, the former Japanese Prime Minister was shot and killed at a campaign rally on Friday. The “ultra-nationalist” leader stepped down from his position in 2020 after holding the seat in office for longer than any Prime Minister in Japan’s history.
The suspected gunman was taken into custody by police who tackled the individual in front of a shocked crowd.
Japan, which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the world, is often thought to be one of the safest places on Earth.
— Reuters (@Reuters) July 8, 2022
NHK World Japan — Japan’s public broadcaster — announced that the arrested suspect in the shooting served for three years during the 2000s in Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force.
Fumio Kishida, Japan’s current Prime Minister said, “It is barbaric and malicious and it cannot be tolerated.”
The shooting occurred in the southwest city of Nara while Abe was campaigning for a parliamentary election. The shooter fired what photos seem to depict a homemade firearm while standing behind the former Prime Minister.
Footage also captured two gunshots as Abe stood, addressing a crowd through a microphone.
Shinzo Abe remained a prominent figure of influence within the Liberal Democratic Party, even after stepping down in 2020 for health issues. The former Japanese Prime Minister served from 2006 and 2007, followed by another term from 2012 to 2020. Until his death at 67 years of age, he remained a powerhouse in Japans political arena.
Hidetada Fukushima, chief of Nara Medical University’s Emergency Department said that Abe sustained two wounds to his neck that severely compromised an artery as well as major trauma to his heart.
In the months leading up to his death, Abe had become more vocal about his criticism of China. Earlier this year, Abe challenged the United States to abandon its position of “strategic ambiguity” and assure Taiwan that the US would support them in the event that China follows Russia’s lead and decides to invade.
He also made additional enemies in Beijing when he said that “a Taiwan contingency is a Japan contingency,” and that Japan would inevitably become involved should China attack its neighbor unprovoked.