Former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe dies after gunshot wound

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe died on Friday following a gun attack during an election rally in Nara prefecture (western Japan), according to the public television channel NHK.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said after the attack that former PM Shinzo Abe was in “a very serious condition”adding that “it is a barbaric act in the middle of an electoral campaign, which is the basis of democracy, and it is absolutely unforgivable”.

Separately, Japanese police entered the home of the suspect in the shooting attack on Shinzo Abe, NHK footage shows.

Footage showed several police officers wearing protective gear, helmets and shields entering a building identified by NHK as the home of the man arrested for attempted murder soon after the attack.

The 67-year-old former chief executive was giving a late morning speech near a train station in Nara during a campaign rally ahead of Sunday’s senatorial elections when gunshots rang out been heard.

A man in his 40s has been disarmed and arrested for attempted murder, according to NHK, citing police sources.

According to several local media, the suspect is a 41-year-old Japanese man who in the past belonged to the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, the Japanese Navy.

Shinzo Abe served two terms as Prime Minister (2006-2007) and (2012-2020) before resigning in 2020 for health reasons.

But he ensured a presence within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), controlling one of its main factions.

Japan has one of the strictest gun control laws in the world, and the annual number of gun deaths in the country of 125 million people is extremely low.

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