Tokyo: A 41-year-old man, identified as Tetsuya Yamagami, has been taken into custody in connection with the shooting and attack on former Japan PM Shinzo Abe, who remains critical at the moment, said police on Friday. Yamagami was captured by security personnel at the scene and taken into custody. Police have also retrieved a gun from where Abe was shot at.
Shinzo Abe was shot in the chest during a campaign speech in western Japan and was airlifted to a hospital but he was not breathing and his heart had stopped, officials said. Local fire department official Makoto Morimoto said Abe was in cardio and pulmonary arrest after being shot and was taken to a prefectural hospital.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters that police arrested an alleged male attacker at the scene. “A barbaric act like this is absolutely unforgivable, no matter what the reasons are, and we condemn it strongly,” Matsuno said.
NHK public broadcaster aired footage showing Abe collapsed on the street, with several security guards running toward him, He was reportedly shot a few minutes after he started talking outside of the main train station in western Nara.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who belongs to the same political party as Abe, is on his way to Tokyo on a helicopter from his own campaign destination of Yamagata, in northern Japan. Matsuno said all Cabinet ministers are to return to Tokyo from their campaign trips.
In another footage, campaign officials were surrounding him to treat the popular former leader who is still influential in the governing Liberal Democratic Party and heads its largest faction Seiwakai. Elections for Japan’s upper house, the less powerful chamber of its parliament, are Sunday.
Abe was giving a speech when people heard gunshots. He was holding his chest when he collapsed, his shirt smeared with blood, but was able to speak before he fell unconscious. The attack was a shock in a country that’s one of the world’s safest and with some of the strictest gun control laws anywhere.
Abe stepped down in 2020 because he said a chronic health problem has resurfaced. Abe has had ulcerative colitis since he was a teenager and has said the condition was controlled with treatment.