Shinzo Abe: what we know so far about killing of former Japanese PM

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Shinzo Abe made a speech in Nara, Western Japan before he was shot (via REUTERS)
Shinzo Abe made a speech in Nara, Western Japan before he was shot (via REUTERS)

Japan’s former prime minister Shinzo Abe has died after being shot while making a speech at an election rally on the streest of Nara, western Japan.

His assassination has shocked the globe and prompted a flurry of tributes from world leaders who worked alongside Abe, Japan’s longest serving prime minister.

Here is what we know so far:

What happened when Shinzo Abe was shot?

Abe was shot while standing at an intersection outside a train station where he was speaking to a crowd of hundreds.

Buses and vans passed behind his exposed back on the road where the assailant appeared.

Two gunshots were fired from behind the former prime minister on Friday.

Abe collapsed bleeding and he was airlifted to a nearby hospital in Nara where he was later pronounced dead.

NHK aired a dramatic video of Mr Abe giving a speech outside a train station.

He is standing, dressed in a navy blue suit, raising his fist, when two gunshots are heard in the clip.

The video then shows Abe collapsed on the street, with security guards running toward him.

He holds his chest, his shirt smeared with blood.

Why was Shinzo Abe shot?

Suspect Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, who is a former member of Japan’s navy, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder.

Police said he used a gun that was homemade - about 15 inches (40 centimeters) long.

They confiscated similar weapons and his personal computer when they raided his nearby one-room apartment.

Police said Yamagami was responding calmly to questions and had admitted to attacking Abe.

The suspect told investigators he had plotted to kill him because he had a grudge against a “specific organisation”, police said.

What has been the reaction to Shinzo Abe’s death?

World leaders have sent condolences to Abe’s family.

Leaders from Turkey to Singapore have condemned the attack.

The Queen has sent a message of condolence to the Emperor of Japan following the death of the country’s former prime minister Shinzo Abe.

She said: “My family and I were deeply saddened to hear the news of the sudden and tragic death of former Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe.

“I have fond memories of meeting Mr Abe and his wife during their visit to the United Kingdom in 2016. His love for Japan, and his desire to forge ever-closer bonds with the United Kingdom, were clear.

“I wish to convey my deepest sympathy and condolences to his family and to the people of Japan at this difficult time.”

Boris Johnson shared a tribute on Twitter saying Abe’s global leadership would be remembered by many.

He said: “Incredibly sad news about Shinzo Abe. His global leadership through unchartered times will be remembered by many. My thoughts are with his family, friends and the Japanese people. The UK stands with you at this dark and sad time.”

US President Joe Biden said he is “stunned, outraged, and deeply saddened by the news that my friend Abe Shinzo, former Prime Minister of Japan, was shot and killed”.

Japan’s current prime minister Fumio Kishida said the crime was “absolutely unforgivable”.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted his "deepest condolences to his family and the people of Japan at this difficult time”.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol called the shooting "an intolerable criminal act," his office said.

Iran said it was "an act of terrorism."

"As a country that has been a victim of terrorism and has lost great leaders to terrorists, we are following the news closely and with concern," Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.

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