Shinzo Abe, the longest-serving prime minister of Japan, was shot while running for a parliamentary seat on Friday. According to public broadcaster NHK, a man brandishing what appeared to be a homemade gun opened fire.
The shooting in the western city of Nara was denounced by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in the “strongest terms.”
The assassination attempt, an extremely rare attack in Japan that its political parties condemned, shocked the Japanese people and world leaders.
Abe, 67, is in grave condition, and Kishida said the attack on him during the campaign for Sunday’s upper house election was an unacceptable attack on the foundation of Japan’s democracy while struggling to control his emotions.
“To revive him, everything that is possible is being done. I’m sincerely hoping that his life can be saved “Kishida informed the press. He claimed to be unaware of any justification for the “completely unforgivable” assault.
Abe appeared to be in a state of cardiac arrest when airlifted to the hospital, according to a fire department official earlier.
A 41-year-old man was reportedly detained by police after being suspected of carrying out the shooting. According to NHK, the suspect, Tetsuya Yamagami, told police he wanted to kill Abe because he was unhappy with him.
At around 11:30 a.m., two shots were fired as Abe was giving a campaign speech in front of a train station (0230 GMT). The man was then seen being tackled by security personnel while wearing a grey T-shirt and beige pants.
Businessman Makoto Ichikawa, who was present, told Reuters that the gun was the size of a television camera and that there had been a loud bang followed by smoke.
After the second shot, what appeared to be special police tackled him. “After the first shot, no one knew what was going on.”