Wednesday, August 17

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dies after being shot several times during a rally

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe died this Friday after being shot several times while giving a speech at an election event on the street. A 41-year-old man has been arrested at the scene as a suspect in the attack.

Abe, 67, was taken to hospital by helicopter without vital signs and in critical condition. The former Japanese president was shot in the back when he was at a campaign event for this Sunday’s elections, held on the street near a train station in the city of Nara —in western Japan—, according to the communication from the local police.

The hospital’s medical services explained at a press conference that Abe died at 5:03 p.m. local time (8:03 a.m. GMT, 10:03 a.m. in Spain) as a result of the two injuries he had to his neck and subcutaneous hemorrhage. During the hours he was hospitalized, doctors tried to stop his bleeding in his neck and chest and performed blood transfusions, without saving his life.

The detainee is a man residing in the aforementioned town, unemployed and former member of the Army, where he worked between 2002 and 2005 in the naval branch. The weapon found at the scene is homemade. The Police have located in the registry of the house of the arrested more homemade weapons, similar to the one used in the attack.

Eyewitnesses affirm that two shots were heard at the scene and that Abe then collapsed to the ground, according to the state network NHK, while some citizens captured and uploaded to social networks images of the politician being treated on the ground .

The incident occurred around 11:30 local time this Friday and in the presence of numerous citizens who were attending the campaign event or were walking near the Yamato-Saidaiji station.

Election rallies are usually held in Japan in the middle of the street and with few security measures, due to the low rate of crime and attacks with firearms typical of the Asian country. In 2021, only ten shootings were recorded in the country that ended with personal or material damage. The balance was one person killed and four wounded, collects The New York Times. Legislation prevents the possession of weapons, with exceptions for hunting, and the processes to obtain a license are expensive and lengthy.

Although attacks on politicians or terrorist attacks are not frequent in Japan, there are precedents in its recent history for similar events. In 2007, Nagasaki Mayor Iccho Itoh was shot twice in the back in front of his campaign office and died in hospital.

In 1990, former Labor Minister Hyosuke Niwa was stabbed to death by a man who belonged to the Ground Self-Defense Forces. Earlier, in 1960, the president of the Japanese Socialist Party, Inejiro Asanuma, was stabbed to death by a 17-year-old right-wing ultra-nationalist during a televised political debate.

Abe left the position in 2020

Abe stepped down as prime minister for health reasons in September 2020, after becoming the longest-serving Japanese politician in the post. He was the mentor of Japan’s current Prime Minister Fumkio Kishida, who has upheld the main pillars of his predecessor’s political strategy since he came to power in October last year.

The conservative leader was at a campaign event for the partial elections to the Upper House of the Diet (Parliament of Japan) that are held this Sunday, in which the Liberal Democratic Party (PLD) of Abe and Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida hopes to revalidate his vast majority. Kishida has canceled his electoral agenda and has returned to Tokyo.

Condemnations from international leaders: “Shocked and saddened”

The presidents of the European Council, Charles Michel, and of the European Commission (EC), Ursula von der Leyen, have been “shocked” by the attack against the former prime minister of Japan. “Shocked and saddened by the cowardly attack on Shinzo Abe while he was carrying out his professional duties. A true friend, fierce defender of the multilateral order and democratic values”, Michel wrote.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Abe’s family and the people of Japan,” said the president of the Commission on the same social network.

Former United States President Barack Obama has been “shocked” and “sad” by the murder of his “friend and partner.” “Abe was devoted to the country he served and to the extraordinary alliance between the United States and Japan. I will always remember the work we did to strengthen our alliance”, he has expressed.

For his part, Pedro Sánchez, President of the Spanish Government, has sent his condolences for the death of the former Prime Minister: “I want to transfer the name of the Government of Spain and the whole of Spanish society our total and absolute condemnation of this terrible attack” . The High Representative for EU Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, has said he is “deeply shocked by the attack” and has expressed the “total solidarity” of the community bloc with Japan “in these painful moments” with a message on his Twitter profile. Twitter.