By Douglas F. Roberts, The Chicago Times
July 8, 2022
TOKYO — Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated in a shooting while delivering a speech Friday in Nara, Japan.
Abe, 67, was shot in the back by an assassin and later airlifted to a nearby hospital in Nara. After tremendous effort to safe Abe’s life, he was later pronounced dead. As a hearse carrying Abe’s body left the hospital, his wife Akie dutifully bowed her head as the vehicle passed.
According to Nara Medical University emergency department chief Hidetada Fukushima, “Abe suffered major damage to his heart and a major artery. Abe never regained his vital signs.”
The alleged assassin Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, was arrested by authorities on scene. Yamagami is a former member of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. Authorities retrieved a homemade firearm they believe was used to kill Abe. It has been reported that Yamagami has confessed to the assassination.
Abe was giving a speech outside a train station ahead Japan’s parliamentary election. In a video, Abe is seen raising his fist when two gunshots blow into his back causing him to collapse. Authorities are then seen tackling the gunman to the ground.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was quoted as saying the shooting was “dastardly and barbaric.” and said the government would review security measures for political figures. Opposition leaders also condemned the assassination as an attack on Japan’s democracy.
Abe won six national elections and devoted his reign to strengthening Japan’s defense forces and security alliance with the United States. Abe became Japan’s longest-serving prime minister after leaving office for health reasons in 2020.