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Japan’s Shinzo Abe dead at 67 after being shot at election campaign

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TOKYO, JAPAN - A woman shows a special edition of a Japanese national newspaper distributed on the street on July 8, 2022 in Tokyo downtown, Japan, as Shinzo Abe, Former Prime minister of Japan, was shot on the morning the same day during a street meeting as he was support a LDP (Liberal Democratic Party) candidate of the ruling party at Nara city, Japan. (David Mareuil - Anadolu Agency)
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Jul 08, 2022 - 10:15 AM

ISTANBUL (AA) – Japan’s influential politician and former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe succumbed to his injuries after being shot at an election campaign event.

Authorities at a hospital in Japan’s western Nara city told a news conference: “Shinzo Abe, the former prime minister, succumbed to his injuries.”

He died at 5.03 p.m. (0803GMT), the official added.

Abe was 67 years old.

The former prime minister was treated for over five hours but could not be revived.

Abe sustained injuries on the right side of his neck when a 41-year-old assailant opened fire on him during the event in the city of Nara early on Friday.

Fumio Kishida, the incumbent prime minister, earlier told a news conference in Tokyo that Abe was “in critical condition” and health workers were “working very hard” to handle the situation.

Abe, 67, was delivering a speech at a political event on a street in the western city of Nara when he was “shot from behind” by a person who has now been arrested.

The incident, termed “deplorable” by the government spokesperson, took place at around 11.30 a.m. local time (0230GMT).

Japan will hold senate elections on Sunday and Abe was campaigning for the ruling LDP candidates.

At least two shots were heard before Abe collapsed and fell to the ground. He was bleeding and the gunman shot him from behind.

He was “unconscious and unresponsive.”

The assailant has been identified as 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami, a resident of Nara city. The shotgun used in the attack has been seized.

Abe served as Japan’s prime minister for the longest time – in 2006, and also from 2012 to 2020.

Abe was elected the head of the LDP on Sept. 20, 2006 at the age of 52.

In six days, he rose to become the 90th prime minister of Japan, the world’s third-largest economy.

He already had experience under his belt serving as the government’s chief cabinet secretary from 2005 to 2006.

He was Japan’s youngest premier in the postwar era, a record that still stands.

However, the first jolt to his political career came when he suddenly resigned due to a bad ulcerative colitis illness in 2007. He had been in office for just a year – September 2006 to September 2007.

Abe made a return to power in 2012, first defeating party rival Shigeru Ishiba in September to retake the LDP helm, and then leading the party to an overwhelming majority that December.

It was again a political milestone – the first Japanese former premier to return to office since Shigeru Yoshida in 1948.

He was re-elected in the 2014 and 2017 elections, and stepped down in 2020 due to health issues.

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