Former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe has died after being shot through the heart

The killer: 'I was dissatisfied; I shot to kill him.'

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Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P. Chacko is the publisher of Frontier India. He holds an M.B.A in International Business. Books: Author: Foxtrot to Arihant: The Story of Indian Navy's Submarine Arm; Co Author : Warring Navies - India and Pakistan. *views are Personal

Shinzo Abe, the former Japanese Prime Minister, breathed his last after being shot during an election event in Nara. 

“We tried to revive him for four hours,” said the emergency room manager of the hospital where Abe was transported.

Bullet went through his heart

“Two wounds caused two different hemorrhages, we tried to stop them, but the situation was very critical,” the manager explained to national TV. The former Japanese premier was in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest already at the crime scene, the head of the hospital in Nara said at a press conference. The doctor said no vital signs were found upon the former prime minister’s arrival at the facility.

Shinzo Abe
Shinzo Abe. Image: Japan Foreign Ministry.

Shinzo Abe sustained two wounds on the front of his neck, one of the bullets entered his heart, Hidetada Fukushima, professor of emergency medicine, added at the conference. Abe was treated by a team of over 20 doctors but it was impossible to stop the bleeding.

Elections suspended

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida , who returned urgently to Kantei with the whole government after having suspended the election campaign for the renewal of the Upper House scheduled for Sunday 10 July with all the opposition parties, condemned “in the most decisive way possible” attack, defined as “unacceptable”. He said he was “speechless” about the death of Shinzo Abe.

Japanese government defense minister Nobuo Kishi spoke of an unforgivable act. Japanese officials said Abe was shot in the neck and chest and suffered significant internal bleeding. 

According to the public network NHK, Abe was seen bleeding from his chest and a sound compatible with that of a gunshot was heard. The former premier, rescued, was immediately taken to hospital. Japanese media citing local authorities reported that Abe “seemed not to show vital signs” in the first tests done on heart and lung function. His condition appeared very serious. The attack took place around 11.30 in the city of Nara, where Abe was engaged in an electoral event in support of a candidate of the Liberal Democratic Party.

 41-year-old arrested

The Japanese police have arrested 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami . The man, a local resident, had managed to evade security and get close to Abe. The reasons for the gesture are still unclear. The man arrested is a former Self-Defense Forces soldier who served for about three years in the Navy and decided to kill Abe because he was “dissatisfied with the work of the former political leader”. The public broadcaster NHK reports, reporting that the 41 year old was blocked by the police immediately after firing the first two shots. The weapon used by the man, according to the Japanese media, seems to all intents and purposes to be of artisanal production.

Japanese police broke into the suspect’s home, according to footage from NHK public television. The footage shows several police officers wearing protective clothing, helmets and shields and entering a building identified by TV as the home of the man arrested after the attack.

I was dissatisfied with Shinzo Abe, I aimed to kill him,“said he 41-year-old, according to reports from the Japanese police quoted by NHK TV. The attack on the former Japanese premier was not “out of grudge against the political beliefs of Shinzo Abe”, said the 41-year-old arrested talking about his gesture: the police of the prefecture of Nara reported after the arrest, quoted by Kyodo News. Yamagami, a resident of Nara, was previously a member of the Maritime Self-Defense Force according to government sources.

Shinzo Abe

Shinzo Abe is politically longest-serving prime minister in post-war Japan history with a double experience at the head of the government, which always ended for health reasons. In the first, between 2006 and 2007, he won the title of the youngest premier to join Kantei, while in the second he consolidated the record at the helm of the government, from 2012 to 2020.

The 67-year-old former premier is part of one of the most famous political families in Japan, of the Liberal Democratic party (Jiminto).

His grandfather Nobusuke Kishi was prime minister from 1957 to 1960, after spending three years in Sugamo prison. At the end of WW II, he was suspected, but never tried of being a Class A criminal having held the post of minister during the cabinet in time of war. While his brother, Nobuo Kishi, is the current Defense Minister. Abe, a staunch conservative, fought for the overcoming of constitutional pacifism, promoting the process of strengthening the Japanese defensive capabilities now accelerated by the current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, amidst the aggression of Ukraine by Russia and the growing threat of China. He was in particular the push for the approval of laws to allow Japan to exercise the right of “collective self-defense”. 


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