Former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe dies, hours after being shot during campaign
Tokyo, July 08: Japan's former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe passed away on Friday morning after being shot during an election campaign in city of Nara, reported news agency AFP.
Abe was shot from behind minutes after he started his speech Friday in Nara in western Japan. He was airlifted to a hospital for emergency treatment but was not breathing and his heart had stopped. He was pronounced dead later at the hospital.
''Abe was transported to the hospital at 12:20 pm (local time). He was in a state of cardiac arrest upon arrival. Resuscitation was administered. However, unfortunately, he died at 5:03 pm (local time),''Hidetada Fukushima, professor of emergency medicine, Nara Medical University hospital informed.
NHK public broadcaster aired footage showing Abe collapsed on the street, with several security guards running toward him, He was reportedly shot a few minutes after he started talking outside of a main train station in western Nara.
Abe was holding his chest when he collapsed, with his shirt smeared with blood. He was in Nara campaigning ahead of Sunday's election for the parliament's upper house and was giving a speech when people heard a gunshot.
Police arrested the suspected gunman at the scene of the attack, which shocked people in a country known as one of the world's safest. The weapon used for the attack was handmade and the police are now investigating it.
The 67-year-old Abe was Japan's longest-serving leader before stepping down for health reasons in 2020. He had ulcerative colitis since he was a teenager and had said the condition was controlled with treatment. He told reporters at the time that it was "gut wrenching" to leave many of his goals unfinished.
He spoke of his failure to resolve the issue of Japanese abducted years ago by North Korea, a territorial dispute with Russia and a revision of Japan's war-renouncing constitution.
That last goal was a big reason he was such a divisive figure. His ultra-nationalism riled the Koreas and China, and his push to normalise Japan's defense posture angered many Japanese.
Abe failed to achieve his cherished goal of formally rewriting the U.S.-drafted pacifist constitution because of poor public support. Supporters of Abe said that his legacy was a stronger U.S.-Japan relationship that was meant to bolster Japan's defense capability. But Abe made enemies too by forcing his defense goals and other contentious issues through parliament, despite strong public opposition.
Abe is a political blue blood who was groomed to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi. His political rhetoric often focused on making Japan a "normal" and "beautiful" nation with a stronger military and bigger role in international affairs.
Born on 21 September 1954, Abe had served as Prime Minister of Japan and President of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2012 to 2020.
Abe also served as Chief Cabinet Secretary from 2005 to 2006 under Junichiro Koizumi and was briefly leader of the opposition in 2012.