Former Japanese Prime MinisterShinzo Abe is in critical condition after he was shot while delivering a speech in the western city of Nara, the country’s current prime minister, Fumio Kishida, told a news conference. Friday morning press.
Japanese broadcaster NHK said Abe collapsed while delivering a campaign speech for a Liberal Democratic Party candidate around 11:30 a.m. local time ahead of an upper house election this weekend. Police said Abe appeared to have been shot from behind with a shotgun, according to NHK. POLITICO could not verify videos posted on social media purporting to show the incident.
Abe, 67, was rushed to hospital but appears to be showing no vital signs, local firefighters told NHK. A reporter for the broadcaster said she heard what sounded like two gunshots and saw Abe bleeding.
“Doctors are doing everything they can right now” to save Abe, Kishida said, adding, “I sincerely hope former Prime Minister Abe survives.”
According to NHK, a male suspect “in his 40s” was arrested at the scene.
Abe, a familiar figure on the world stage, was Japan’s longest-serving prime minister until his resignation in 2020, citing health concerns.
European and world leaders have sent messages of support to their longtime former colleague.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, commenting on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Summit in Bali, said: “Our thoughts, our prayers are with him, with his family, with the Japanese people.” He added: “It’s a very, very sad moment. And we are waiting for news from Japan.
EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell, who is also in Bali for the G20, tweeted: “Deeply shocked by the attack on @AbeShinzo. Our thoughts are with him and his family. The EU stands in full solidarity with Japan in these painful times.”
“Absolutely shocked to hear that former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot while delivering a campaign speech. Thinking of him, his loved ones and everyone in #Japan on this dark day,” said European Parliament President Roberta Metsola. tweeted.
President of the European Council Charles Michel said he was “shocked and saddened” by the attack, calling Abe a “true friend, fierce defender of the multilateral order and democratic values”.
Outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “utterly appalled and saddened to learn of the despicable attack on Shinzo Abe”.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said“Deeply saddened by the attack on my dear friend Abe Shinzo. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family and the Japanese people. »
This story is developing.