LIVE UPDATES: Shinzo Abe taken to hospital after being shot dead

debt…Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images

TOKYO – Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot and knocked unconscious during a speech in western Japan on Friday, a fire official said.

67 year old Mr. Abe appeared bloodied after hearing gunfire in the city of Nara, near Kyoto. NHK, public broadcaster. Kyoto News reported that Mr Abe had been shot in the chest.

NHK, citing police, said the suspect, Tetsuya Yamagami, 42, was taken into custody. He is a Nara resident, the report said.

Nara Fire Department Command Center Officer Seiko Yasuhara, Mr. Abe said he was in cardiopulmonary arrest and was taken by ambulance to a medical evacuation helicopter. He was later taken to Nara Medical University Hospital, the Nara Fire Department said.

Mr. Mr. Abe was unconscious and had no vital signs. Yasuhara said.

Mr. Belongs to Abe He was the prime minister for a long time He served two terms from 2006 to 2007 and from 2012 to 2020. He resigned in 2020 due to ill health.

The former prime minister was campaigning in Nara ahead of the elections to the upper house of parliament scheduled for Sunday. Mr. Abe was giving a campaign speech on behalf of Kei Sato, 43, a sitting member of the upper house who is running for re-election in Nara, when he was shot.

Current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was on the campaign trail in Yamagata Prefecture and will return to Tokyo, where he was expected to address the media.

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Prime Minister Kishida’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said a Crisis Management Center has been set up in the Prime Minister’s Office.

U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel. said in a post on Twitter: “We are all saddened and shocked,” adding: “Abe-san has been an outstanding leader of Japan and an unwavering ally of the United States. The US government and the American people pray for the well-being of Abe-san, his family, & the people of Japan.”

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