Former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe Shot in Reported Assassination Attempt – CNET

Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest serving prime minister, was reportedly shot in an assassination attempt on Friday. Abe is showing no signs of life, according to AFP.

Abe, 67, collapsed during a speech given in Nara, a city 40-minutes east of Osaka, ahead Japanese Upper House elections on Sunday. Japan’s national broadcaster, NHK, reports Abe was shot

Police say that Abe was shot from behind with a shotgun, according to local media, and that a man with a gun has been arrested at the scene. Abe is in cardiopulmonary arrest after suffering a sudden loss of heart function, and will soon be transferred to Nara Medical University Hospital.  

Abe served twice as Japan’s prime minister. Following a one-year stint in 2007, he held the office between 2012 and 2020. Those eight years made him the longest-serving prime minister in the country’s history. Abe wasn’t voted out of his prime ministership, but resigned both times due to health issues stemming from ulcerative colitis.

Abe was considered a hardline conservative in Japan, known for his advocacy of revoking Japan’s post-World War 2 pacifism — the country is technically not allowed to have an army — by beefing up its “self-defense force”. Internationally, Abe is recognized as having played a deft diplomat with China, standing up to the rising power while simultaneously easing relations that were at a tense spot prior to his becoming prime minister in 2012.

Still a political heavyweight, Abe was in Nara campaigning for Kei Sato, a member of Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party in the Upper House of Japan’s Diet parliament, ahead of Sunday elections.

Shinzo Abe is heir to one of Japan’s political dynasties. Abe’s father, Shintaro Abe, served as Japan’s foreign minister from 1982 to 1986. Nobusuke Kishi, Shinzo’s grandfather, was a former prime minister and helped found the Liberal Democratic Party that’s been in power for 63 of the 67 years since its inception.

“An attack on any democratically elected political leader is an attack on supporters of democracy everywhere,” said Kevin Rudd, who was Australia’s prime minister during Abe’s first time as Japan’s leader in 2007, in a statement. “Shinzo Abe has been a dynamic political leader of Japan over many years, and we all hope that he will recover and resume his important responsibilities in the Diet.”

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