Ex-Japan PM Shinzo Abe shot while campaigning; dies in hospital

Japan's former prime minister Shinzo Abe has died in hospital after he was shot at a political campaign event.

World leaders condoled the death of the former Japanese premier.
World leaders condoled the death of the former Japanese premier. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@VPSecretariat

Abe was shot twice while he was giving a speech on a street in the city of Nara today morning.

The suspect, Tetsuya Yamagami, was arrested at the scene and confessed to shooting Abe with a homemade gun, saying he had a grudge against a "specific organisation", police said.

Several other handmade weapons, similar to those used in the attack, had been confiscated after a search of the suspect's house, police officers told a news conference.

Explosives were also found at the home and police said they had advised residents to evacuate the area.

The suspected shooter told officers he had a grudge against a specific group he believed Abe was connected to, police said, adding that they were investigating why the former PM was targeted out of other people related to the group.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida suspended his election campaign and condemned the attack, saying: "It is barbaric and malicious and it cannot be tolerated."

This attack was "an act of brutality that happened during the elections – the very foundation of our democracy – and is absolutely unforgivable," Kishida said, speaking before Abe's death was confirmed.

World leaders condoled the death of the former Japanese premier.

"I am shocked and saddened beyond words at the tragic demise of one of my dearest friends, Shinzo Abe. He was a towering global statesman, an outstanding leader, and a remarkable administrator. He dedicated his life to make Japan and the world a better place. As a mark of our deepest respect for former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, a one-day national mourning shall be observed," Indian PM Narendra Modi said.

US President Joe Biden, former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, UK premier Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron were among those who extended their condolences.

Shinzo Abe is known to be the longest-serving Prime Minister in Japanese history. From 2005 to 2006, he also served as the Chief Cabinet Secretary from 2005 to 2006 under Junichiro Koizumi and was also briefly the leader of the opposition.

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