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Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dies in shooting

G20 Osaka Summit 2019
Shinzo Abe

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has died after being shot in a gun attack, according to reports.

Abe collapsed after he was allegedly shot at an event in the city of Nara while he was giving a speech. His attacker has been arrested.

Ex-Tokyo governor Yoichi Masuzoe said in a tweet that the 67-year-old was in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest. The term is often used when a person is seriously ill. Japanese public broadcaster NHK later cited officials confirming his death.

The local Fire and Disaster Management Agency had earlier announced Abe had a bullet wound on the right of his neck, and also suffered subcutaneous bleeding under the left part of his chest. It is unclear if both shots hit him, or if a bullet hit him on the neck and travelled elsewhere.

“Former prime minister Abe was shot at around 11:30 local time (02:30 GMT),” a statement from chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno reads. “One man, believed to be the shooter, has been taken into custody. The condition of former prime minister Abe is currently unknown. Whatever the reason, such a barbaric act can never be tolerated, and we strongly condemn it.”

Videos shared on social media appear to show paramedics huddled around Abe in the middle of a street.

Reporters at NHK originally claimed Abe was “conscious and responsive” while being transported after the shooting, citing police sources. They also reported the suspect used a handmade gun, is in his 40s, and is a resident of Nara.

Abe served as Japan’s leader from 2006 to 2007 and from 2012 to 2020. He is survived by his wife, radio DJ Akie Abe.

– Cover Media