TOKYO — Former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was shot at a campaign event Friday, public broadcaster NHK reported, citing Japanese police sources.
Party officials cited in Japanese media said Abe is unconscious. He was giving a speech in Nara to support a campaigner, according to NHK.
A short time later, NHK reported that Abe was showing no vital signs. At least two gunshots were heard on-site.
Former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe is in a “state of cardiopulmonary arrest” after collapsing while making a speech in the western city of Nara amid reports of gunfire.
NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster, said Abe – the country’s longest-serving prime minister until he resigned in 2020 – fell to the ground and appeared to be bleeding from the chest after being shot from behind with a shotgun on Friday morning.
NHK said a suspect, named by police as Tetsuya Yamagami, a resident of Nara in his 40s, had been taken into custody but provided no further details.
A witness to the attack told the broadcaster that the first shot caused Abe to stumble backwards, adding that he fell to the ground after the second shot.
Amateur video footage showed Abe’s aides rushing toward him as smoke filled the air behind him. The clip does not show the moment he fell.
The suspected gunmen reportedly did not attempt to flee and were detained at the scene.
Abe, who was flown to hospital by helicopter, had been in Nara to make a campaign speech ahead of this Sunday’s upper house elections.