An onlooker has snapped a chilling photo of the suspect involved in the shooting of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The world has been shocked and horrified after the shooting of former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe on Friday.
Abe delivered a campaign speech in Nara . district at 11:30 a.m. local time on Friday when he was shot in the backreports in the local media.
He was rushed to hospital but is reported to be showing no vital signs, and a man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, AFP reported.
According to Japanese public broadcaster NHK, early reports say that the suspect in the shooting used a gun he made himself.
NHK reported that the suspect, Yamagami Tetsuya, is a native of Nara in his 40s. According to police sources, Tetsuya is currently being held for questioning at Nara Nishi Police Station.
The homemade gun was a shocking sight in Japan, where gun crime is almost nonexistent, with only 10 deaths from firearms in a typical year.
Just two days ago, Business Insider published a lengthy explanation of how the tightly packed country of more than 120 million people has “almost completely eliminated gun killing.”
Japanese citizens have to go through an intensive testing and training process before they can buy a firearm, and even then they are reduced to buying guns rather than something more concealable, like a pistol.
They must then pass mental health assessments, background checks, and retake safety regulation courses, including a class and exam, every three years.
“Since guns entered the country, Japan has always had strict gun laws,” Iain Overton, executive director of Action on Armed Violence, a British advocacy group, told the BBC.
“They’re the first nation to enforce gun laws in the entire world, and I think it’s laid a foundation in saying that guns really don’t play a role in civil society.”
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanian responded to the attack on Friday afternoon.
“Shocking news from Japan that former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been shot – our thoughts are with his family and the people of Japan at this time,” Mr Albanese tweeted.
Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also spoke of the incident in a tweet shortly after the news broke, describing Mr Abe as a “great leader”.
“Shocked by this terrible news from Japan,” he wrote.
“Abe Shinzo is one of the great leaders of our time. At the moment we have to hope and pray that he makes it.”
Recently ousted Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was “disturbed” by reports of an attack on Abe.
“PM Abe is a great and wise friend of Australia and one of the most important world leaders of the post-war era,” he wrote on Facebook. “Our prayers are with him, his wife Akie and the people of Japan at this very difficult time.”
US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel said Friday he was “saddened and shocked” by the shooting of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a campaign event.
“We are all saddened and shocked by the shooting of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo.
Abe-san was an outstanding leader of Japan and an unwavering ally of the United States. The American government and the American people pray for the well-being of Abe-san, his family and the people of Japan,” Emanuel said in a statement.
Former Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd also shared his thoughts, praising Abe as a “dynamic political leader” and saying the attack was “an attack on supporters of democracy everywhere”.
Local media have reported that he was bleeding from his neck the moment he collapsed, with an NHK reporter claiming that “two consecutive gunshots” had been heard at the scene.
The local broadcaster reported that authorities seized a gun from the man, who appeared to be in his forties.
Local media have reported that Mr Abe was shot from behind “with a shotgun” and “appears to be in a state of cardiac and respiratory arrest”, which, according to the AFP report, is “a term used in Japan before a dreaded death can be confirmed by a doctor”.
There is currently no confirmation from local authorities, although a press conference is expected later today.
For the past few weeks, Mr Abe has campaigned on behalf of the Liberal Democratic Party ahead of the House of Councilors elections on 10 July.
Originally published as Global shock, sadness when former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe shot during campaign speech