US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has expressed his deep concern over the condition of Shinzo Abe.
“Our thoughts, our prayers are with him, with his family, with the people of Japan,” said Blinken on the sidelines of a G20 meeting on the Indonesian island of Bali. “It’s a very, very sad moment. And we are waiting for news from Japan.”
Japanese media has reported that the suspect in the shooting was a member of the Naval Self-Defense Force for around three years, until around 2005.
Two women who witnessed the incident told NHK that the man approached Abe from behind as he was giving his speech. A first shot was heard, apparently no one was injured, the witnesses said. As a second shot was fired, Abe fell to the ground and people rushed to treat him.
Abe’s planned speech was published on Thursday evening.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi are among the latest to make statements following the shooting this morning.
In a Facebook post, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen wrote:
I think everyone is as surprised and sad as I am. Taiwan and Japan are both democratic countries with the rule of law. On behalf of my government, I would like to strongly condemn violent and illegal acts.
Former Prime Minister Abe is not only a good friend of mine, but also a staunch friend of Taiwan. He has supported Taiwan for many years and spared no effort to promote the progress of Taiwan-Japan relations.
Teuku Faizasyah, Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman on behalf of Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, said in a statement:
The Minister expressed her condolences to the Japanese Foreign Minister on behalf of the G20 Foreign Ministers.
Media reports quoted the police as saying that the alleged weapon used in the attack was self-made. One photo showed two cylindrical pieces of metal, apparently tied tightly with black duct tape, lying on the street near the crime scene.
Japan has a near “zero tolerance” for gun ownership — an approach that experts say contributes to its extremely low gun crime rate. According to the National Police Agency, six gun deaths were reported in Japan in 2014, and the number rarely exceeds 10 in a country of 126 million people. In 2006, only two people were killed in gun attacks.
The Possession of Swords and Firearms Act 1958 states: “No one shall possess a firearm or firearms or a sword or swords.”
The few exceptions include shotguns for hunting and sport. Even then, prospective owners must attend courses and pass written and practical exams. They must then undergo a psychological evaluation to determine if they are fit to own a firearm. Police background checks are comprehensive and even include interviewing relatives of gun owners.
Civilian possession of handguns is prohibited. The few violations that get media coverage usually involve members of the country’s yakuza crime syndicates. According to police, there were 21 arrests for the use of firearms in 2020, including 12 in connection with gangs, Nikkei Asia reported.
Here is another reaction from Australia.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said his thoughts are with Shinzo Abe’s family and the people of Japan.
Former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said Shinzo Abe is “one of the most important global leaders of the post-war era”.
Morrison wrote in a statement posted to Facebook:
I am deeply shocked by the reports of the alleged attack on former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. PM Abe is a great and wise friend of Australia and one of the most important global leaders of the post-war period. Our prayers are with him, his wife Akie and the people of Japan at this very difficult time
We just released some video footage of the incident where Abe was shot.
Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he was appalled to hear about the shooting and described Shinzo Abe as “one of the great leaders of our time”.
Japanese media have reported that the country’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest after apparently being shot during a campaign speech in western Japan on Friday.
National broadcaster NHK has quoted firefighters as saying he had no vital signs.
No news has been released about Abe’s condition since the incident happened almost two hours ago. Japanese media often use the term “in a state of congestive heart failure” to describe situations where the victim is no longer alive but a doctor has yet to sign their death certificate. It is not clear at this point if this happened in Abe’s case.
The United States is “sad and shocked” by the shooting of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, US Ambassador Rahm Emanuel said on Friday.
“Abe-san was a pre-eminent leader of Japan and a staunch ally of the United States,” Emanuel said in a statement.
“The US government and the American people pray for the well-being of Abe-san, his family and the people of Japan.”
Abe was in the western city of Nara, near Osaka, when he was attacked on Friday.
Japan’s chief of cabinet Hirokazu Matsunodescribed the attack as “unforgivable, adding that Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had canceled campaign freezes in northeastern Japan and was returning to the Liberal Democratic Party’s Tokyo headquarters.
- Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been hospitalized after he was apparently shot while giving a speech in western Japan.
- Abe is reportedly suffering from heart failure, where the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. According to the Associated Press, the term is sometimes used by officials in Japan to describe situations where victims are no longer alive but before a formal declaration of death has been issued.
- Abe was rushed to a hospital and appears to have no vital signs. According to a local fire department, Japan’s public broadcaster NHK has reported.
- Police arrested a male suspect at the scene on suspicion of attempted murder, according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK.
- Abe had been in the city of Nara to deliver a campaign speech ahead of this Sunday’s House of Lords election when gunshots were heard.
- Public television NHK broadcast footage showing Abe collapsing in the street as several security guards ran towards him. Abe was clutching his chest as he collapsed, and his shirt was streaked with blood.
Hi Rebecca Ratcliffe here.
Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is in a “state of cardiopulmonary arrest” after he was reportedly shot while delivering a campaign speech in western Japan on Friday.
Read our latest report from my colleague Justin McCurry in Tokyo here.
We will bring you more updates in this live blog.