Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated

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Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, 67, was shot dead on Friday while campaigning for a parliamentary election. Abe was taken to hospital in cardiopulmonary arrest and showing no vital signs. He was pronounced dead around five and a half hours after the shooter opened fire on him from behind as he spoke to members of the public outside a train station in the western city of Nara. Authorities arrested a 41-year-old man with a homemade gun. Identified as Tetsuya Yamagami, he told police he was dissatisfied with Abe and wanted to kill him. He previously prepared for this. “This attack is an act of brutality that happened during the elections – the very foundation of our democracy – and is absolutely unforgivable,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told media.

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TV Asahi reported that Abe’s body would be transferred to his Tokyo home on Saturday. There were politic assassinats previously in Japan. Between most recents: in 2007, the mayor of Nagasaki was shot and killed by a yakuza gangster; the head of the Japan Socialist Party was assassinated during a speech in 1960 by a right-wing youth with a samurai short sword. Abe served two terms as prime minister, stepping down in 2020 citing ill health. He remained a dominant presence over the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in Japan. At G20 meeting in Indonesia, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the assassination of Abe “shocking” and “profoundly disturbing” and described him as a leader of great vision.