Top Stories

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in critical condition following shooting, PM Fumio Kishida says

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in a press conference on Friday that Abe is receiving emergency treatment at the Nara Medical University hospital, where medical staff are fighting to save him.

“This is not a forgivable act,” Kishida said. “We will comprehend the situation and take appropriate measures.”

An official from the Nara City Fire Department earlier confirmed to CNN that Abe was in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest, a term used to describe the sudden loss of heart function and breathing.

Abe, Japan’s longest serving prime minister, was rushed to hospital via helicopter in the aftermath of the shooting. According to police, he was believed to have been shot twice, in the chest and neck, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported.

A suspect, identified as Yamagami Tetsuya, a local man in his 40s, was arrested and charged with attempted murder, according to NHK. It appears the suspect used a handmade gun in the attack, though the motive remains unclear. He is being held for questioning at Nara Nishi police station, according to NHK.

Photos from the scene show the weapon on the ground, wrapped in black material.

CNN has not yet been able to independently verify these reports.

Video aired on NHK and images from the scene show police wrestling a man to the ground near where the former Prime Minister was standing. Another video aired by NHK shows smoke in the air.

What appears to be a homemade weapon on the ground near where a security officer seized a suspect believed to have shot former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in front of Yamatosaidaiji Station on July 8, in Nara, Japan.

Prime Minister Kishida, who was on a tour of duty, rushed back to his office and government ministers in various parts of the country had been urged to return to Tokyo immediately, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said.

“Such barbaric behavior is unacceptable for any reason and we firmly condemn it. The government will take all possible measures to deal with the situation,” Matsuno said.

How events unfolded

Abe was making a speech in support of LDP candidates ahead of the upcoming Upper House elections scheduled for Sunday. He was due to head to Kyoto and Saitama prefecture, near the capital Tokyo.

Video aired by NHK captured the moments leading up to the shooting and show Abe speaking to a small crowd in the street in front of Yamatosaidaiji Station in Nara. In subsequent video two shots can be heard.

In this aerial image, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is on a stretcher to a helicopter after being shot in front of Yamatosaidaiji Station on July 8.

The former Prime Minister was conscious and responsive while being transported following the shooting, police sources told NHK. He is being treated Nara Medical University hospital.

Images show Abe being carried on a stretcher to a helicopter.

The United States Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emmanuel said in a tweet early Friday, “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 US The US Government and American people are praying for the well-being of Abe-san, his family, & people of Japan.”

Japan’s low gun crime

Abe’s shooting has shocked Japan, which has one of the lowest rates of gun crime in the world due to its extremely strict gun control laws. 

In 2018, Japan only reported nine deaths from firearms, compared with 39,740 that year in the United States.

Former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe hospitalized after possible shooting

Under Japan’s firearms laws, the only guns permitted for sale are shotguns and air rifles — handguns are outlawed. But getting them is a long and complicated process.

Nancy Snow, Japan director of the International Security Industrial Council, told CNN that Friday’s shooting will change the country “forever.”

“It’s not only rare, but it’s really culturally unfathomable,” Snow said. “The Japanese people can’t imagine having a gun culture like we have in the United States. This is a speechless moment. I really feel at a loss for words. I pray for the best for the former prime minister.

This is a breaking story more to follow.

Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button