Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been confirmed dead after he was shot in the chest during a campaigning speech in Nara, located near Kyoto in the western part of Japan, public broadcaster NHK said on Friday.
Abe was in a critical condition after he was shot by a man who opened fire with an apparently homemade gun. A fire department official claimed that the former Japanese PM was reportedly in a state of cardiac arrest when he was being airlifted to the hospital.
Soon after the incident, police nabbed the man suspected for the attack on Abe. He was identified as Tetsuya Yamagami, a resident of Nara who also served in Japanese military. Incumbent Japanese premier Fumio Kishida was quoted as saying by Reuters, "Everything that can be done is being done to revive him. I'm praying from the depths of my heart that his life will be saved."
As the news broke, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi, among others, took to Twitter to pay condolences to the departed soul. Prime Minister Modi tweeted, "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." He further said that a one-day national holiday will be observed on July 9 to pay homage to Abe.
Reacting to the assassination of the former Japanese premier, the Kremlin expressed sadness and went onto hail him as a “patriot.” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, “We are deeply saddened by the news from Japan.” He added, “Abe was truly a patriot of Japan.”
Britain's new finance minister Nadhim Zahawi offered his condolences to the departed soul.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez sent his best wishes to Abe's family and "our forthright condemnation of this cowardly attack. "Spain stands together with the people of Japan in these difficult times,'' he tweeted.
The Italian government and lawmakers across the political spectrum condemned the shooting, with Premier Mario Draghi's office expressing solidarity with Abe and the Japanese people.
About Shinzo Abe
Hailing from a wealthy political family, Shinzo Abe took office for the first time in 2006 and quit abruptly as the Japanese PM in 2007 after just a year in office and came back for his second innings in 2012. This time, he pledged to revive a stagnant economy, loosen the limits of pacifist constitution made after World War 2 and restore traditional values.
He was known for his ‘Abenomics’ policies aimed at alleviating deflation, reviving economic growth with easy monetary policy and fiscal spending coupled with structural reforms to cope with fast-aging and shrinking population.
He also focused on ramping up Japanese military and countering China’s clout during his tenure. Public support garnered due to Abenomics was eroded by handling of the COVID outbreak and scandals like the arrest of his former justice minister.
He was the longest serving Prime Minister of Japan till he stepped away from the office in 2020 due to medical reasons. Even after he left Prime Minister’s office, Abe continued to remain a force to be reckoned with inside the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and controlled one of its major factions.
(With inputs from agencies)
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