ALL NEWS

Japan ex-leader Shinzo Abe assassinated while giving speech

Jul 8, 2022, 5:57 AM

In this image from a video, Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe makes a campaign speech in N...

In this image from a video, Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe makes a campaign speech in Nara, western Japan shortly before he was shot Friday, July 8, 2022. Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a divisive arch-conservative and one of his nation's most powerful and influential figures, has died after being shot during a campaign speech Friday in western Japan, hospital officials said.(Kyodo News via AP)

(Kyodo News via AP)

NARA, Japan (AP) — Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a divisive arch-conservative and one of his nation’s most powerful and influential figures, has died after being shot during a campaign speech Friday in western Japan, hospital officials said.

Abe, 67, was shot from behind minutes after he started his speech in Nara. He was airlifted to a hospital for emergency treatment but was not breathing and his heart had stopped. He was later pronounced dead despite emergency treatment that included massive blood transfusions, hospital officials said.

Police arrested the suspected gunman at the scene of an attack that shocked many in Japan, which is one of the world’s safest nations and has some of the strictest gun control laws anywhere.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his Cabinet ministers hastily returned to Tokyo from campaign events around the country after the shooting, which he called “dastardly and barbaric.” He pledged to carry out Sunday’s parliamentary elections as planned.

Nara Medical University emergency department chief Hidetada Fukushima said Abe suffered major damage to his heart in addition to two neck wounds that damaged an artery, causing extensive bleeding.

He was in a state of cardio and pulmonary arrest when he arrived at the hospital and never regained his vital signs, Fukushima said.

Abe was Japan’s longest-serving leader before stepping down in 2020.

Public television NHK aired a dramatic video of Abe giving a speech outside a train station in the western city of Nara. He is standing, dressed in a navy blue suit, raising his fist, when two gunshots are heard.

The video then shows Abe collapsed on the street, with security guards running toward him. He holds his chest, his shirt smeared with blood.

In the next moment, security guards leap on top of a man in gray shirt who lies face down on the pavement. A double-barreled device that appeared to be a handmade gun is seen on the ground.

Nara prefectural police confirmed the arrest of Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, on suspicion of attempted murder. They said an explosives team raided the suspect’s home to gather evidence.

NHK reported that the suspect served in Japan’s navy for three years in the 2000s and that he said he wanted to kill Abe because he had complaints that were not related to political views.

Other videos from the scene showed campaign officials surrounding Abe. The former leader was still highly influential in the governing Liberal Democratic Party and headed its largest faction, Seiwakai. Elections for Japan’s upper house, the less powerful chamber of its parliament, are Sunday.

“I use the harshest words to condemn (the act),” Kishida said as he struggled to control his emotions. He said the government planned to review the security situation, but added that Abe had the highest protection.

Opposition leaders condemned the attack as a challenge to Japan’s democracy. In Tokyo, people stopped on the street to grab extra editions of newspapers or watch TV coverage of the shooting.

When he resigned as prime minister, Abe said he had a recurrence of the ulcerative colitis he’d had since he was a teenager.

He told reporters at the time that it was “gut wrenching” to leave many of his goals unfinished. He spoke of his failure to resolve the issue of Japanese abducted years ago by North Korea, a territorial dispute with Russia and a revision of Japan’s war-renouncing constitution.

That last goal was a big reason he was such a divisive figure.

His ultra-nationalism riled the Koreas and China, and his push to create what he saw as a more normal defense posture angered many Japanese. Abe failed to achieve his cherished goal of formally rewriting the U.S.-drafted pacifist constitution because of poor public support.

Loyalists said that his legacy was a stronger U.S.-Japan relationship that was meant to bolster Japan’s defense capability. But Abe made enemies by forcing his defense goals and other contentious issues through parliament, despite strong public opposition.

Abe was a political blue blood who was groomed to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi. His political rhetoric often focused on making Japan a “normal” and “beautiful” nation with a stronger military and bigger role in international affairs.

Many foreign officials expressed shock over the shooting.

Abe said he was proud of working while leader for a stronger Japan-U.S. security alliance and shepherding the first visit by a serving U.S. president to the atom-bombed city of Hiroshima.

He also helped Tokyo gain the right to host the 2020 Olympics by pledging that a disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant was “under control” when it was not.

Abe became Japan’s youngest prime minister in 2006, at age 52, but his overly nationalistic first stint abruptly ended a year later, also because of his health.

The end of Abe’s scandal-laden first stint as prime minister was the beginning of six years of annual leadership change, remembered as an era of “revolving door” politics that lacked stability and long-term policies.

When he returned to office in 2012, Abe vowed to revitalize the nation and get its economy out of its deflationary doldrums with his “Abenomics” formula, which combines fiscal stimulus, monetary easing and structural reforms.

He won six national elections and built a rock-solid grip on power, bolstering Japan’s defense role and capability and its security alliance with the U.S. He also stepped up patriotic education at schools and raised Japan’s international profile.
___
Yamaguchi and Klug reported from Tokyo.
___
Follow AP’s Asia-Pacific coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/asia-pacific

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

All News

A man drowned while swimming with his two children in Taylorsville Sunday afternoon. Police are inv...

Devin Oldroyd

Taylorsville man drowns in apartment complex pool

A man drowned while swimming with his two children in Taylorsville Sunday afternoon. Police are investigating.

4 hours ago

Christopher "Topher Owens and "Drew" Bull...

Mark Jones, KSL TV

Man accused in the killing of two missing men earlier this year is facing additional charges

A man accused of killing two men missing from Blanding in San Juan County earlier this year is facing additional charges.

8 hours ago

Hurricane Valley Fire & Rescue responded to a crashed paraglider Sunday morning. The paraglider was...

Devin Oldroyd

Hurricane Valley Fire & Rescue respond to crashed paraglider Sunday

Hurricane Valley Fire & Rescue responded to a crashed paraglider Sunday morning. The paraglider was LifeFlighted to the hospital.

10 hours ago

Photo of a Salt Lake City Police Department vehicle. Salt Lake City Police are investigating what t...

Mark Jackson

Salt Lake City’s fifth homicide for the year 2024

Salt Lake City Police are investigating a homicide that occurred Sunday morning. Police say this is the fifth homicide in the city for 2024.

11 hours ago

A church fire became a four-alarm fire on Sunday morning....

Kennedy Camarena

Church fire became a four-alarm structure fire

A four alarm fire broke out in a church Sunday morning, causing up to 80 units of firefighters to tend to the fire.

15 hours ago

(Canva)...

Michelle Lee

The impact of spring colors on mental health

Let’s Get Moving Host Maria Shilaos spoke with Dr. Sally Augustin to learn how we can use spring colors to improve our mental health.

17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

Japan ex-leader Shinzo Abe assassinated while giving speech