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Former Japanese prime minister has died, reports say – Boston 25 News

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TOKYO — Shinzo Abe, the former prime minister of Japan, has died after he was shot during a campaign speech on Friday, according to public broadcaster NHK. Hospital officials also confirmed his death, The Associated Press reported.

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A man was in custody at the site in western Japan on suspicion of attempted murder, according to NHK. Police later identified the suspect as Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, of Nara, The Washington Post reported, citing Japanese media reports.

Video footage from the scene showed what appeared to be a double-barreled, handmade gun on the ground next to the suspect as he was arrested, according to the AP.

Here are the latest updates:

Update 5:43 a.m. EDT July 8: Officials with Nara Medical University Hospital said Abe was pronounced dead at 5:03 p.m. local time (4:03 a.m. EDT), according to The New York Times. The former prime minister was hemorrhaging from a heart wound and received blood transfusions for four hours, hospital officials told reporters. Doctors were never able to revive him, the newspaper reported.

Update 5:21 a.m. EDT July 8: Hospital officials have confirmed that Abe is dead, according to the AP.

Update 4:56 a.m. EDT July 8: Japanese public broadcaster NHK is reporting that Abe has died, according to the AP.

Update 2:52 a.m. EDT July 8: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Abe is in “severe condition,” according to the AP.

“Currently, doctors are doing everything they can,” Kishida added, according to The New York Times. “At this moment, I am hoping and praying that former PM Abe will survive this.”

Update 1:59 a.m. EDT July 8: The last known assassination with a gun of a prominent Japanese politician was in 2007, The Wall Street Journal reported. That year, the mayor of Nagasaki was shot by a member of a right-wing group.

Update 1:55 a.m. EDT July 8: Abe was speaking on behalf of Kei Sato, 43, a current member of the Upper House running for re-election in Nara, according to The New York Times. Abe had been speaking for less than a minute when two loud explosive sounds were heard behind him.

Yoshio Ogita, 74, secretary-general of Nara Prefecture’s Liberal Democratic chapter, was standing next to Abe and said he heard two loud sounds and saw a plume of white smoke.

“I didn’t know what had happened,” Ogita told the Times in a telephone interview Friday afternoon. “I saw him collapse.”

Update 12:57 a.m. July 8: Local fire department official Makoto Morimoto told reporters that former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was in cardio and pulmonary arrest after being shot and was taken to a prefectural hospital. The condition means Abe had a sudden loss of heart function and breathing, CNN reported.

Abe was admitted to Nara Medical University Hospital, The Washington Post reported. Government sources cited in media reports said Abe was in critical condition.

Original report: Shinzo Abe, the former prime minister of Japan, was in heart failure and collapsed after being shot during a campaign speech on Friday, according to public broadcaster NHK. He was airlifted to a hospital in critical condition, officials said.

A man was in custody at the site in western Japan on suspicion of attempted murder, according to NHK. Police later identified the suspect as Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, of Nara, The Washington Post reported, citing Japanese media reports.

Abe, 67, served as Japan’s prime minister from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2012 to 2020. He was the country’s longest-serving prime minister, according to The New York Times.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno confirmed that Abe was shot in the chest at about 11:30 a.m. local time and was rushed to a hospital, the Post reported. Abe was making a speech when he was shot from the back, the AP reported.

“Whatever the reason, such a barbaric act can never be tolerated, and we strongly condemn it,” Matsuno told reporters.

At least two gunshots were heard at the site, the Post reported. Abe reportedly collapsed after the second shot was fired.

Seigo Yasuhara, an official in the command center at the Nara Fire Department, told the Times that Abe had been moved by ambulance to a medical evacuation helicopter and taken to a regional medical center. He was unconscious and not showing any vital signs, the official said.

Witnesses reported hearing gunshots in the apparent attack in the city of Nara, according to the AP. Abe was standing while making an election campaign speech ahead of Sunday’s election for the parliament’s upper house.

Abe was holding his chest when he collapsed, with his shirt smeared with blood, according to the AP.

Gun laws in Japan are among the world’s strictest and shootings are extremely rare, according to the newspaper.

Abe stepped down as prime minister in 2020 citing health reasons, the BBC reported. He later revealed that he had suffered a relapse of ulcerative colitis. He was succeeded by his close party ally, Yoshihide Suga, who was later replaced by Fumio Kishida.

Rahm Emanuel, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, tweeted: “We are all saddened and shocked by the shooting of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo. Abe-san has been an outstanding leader of Japan and unwavering ally of the U.S. The U.S. Government and American people are praying for the well-being of Abe-san, his family, & people of Japan.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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