Tokyo, 8 July 2022 (dpa/MIA) — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida temporarily suspended his election campaign on Friday following an assassination attempt on his predecessor Shinzo Abe, who was shot during an election campaign speech earlier in the day.
Kishida left the northern prefecture of Yamagata on Friday to return to Tokyo, Japanese media reported. His government has reportedly set up a crisis team.
Television footage showed Abe lying on the street in the ancient imperial city of Nara. Media reported that Abe was unconscious and bleeding from the neck after the attack, citing his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
Broadcaster NHK reported he had been in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest and was taken to hospital.
Kyodo reported that Abe was shot from behind. Police managed to detain the suspected shooter and arrested him on suspicion of attempted murder.
Further details were not immediately available. Abe served as Japan’s premier from December 2012 to September 2020, making him the country’s longest-serving prime minister.
The US ambassador to Japan reacted in shock to the news: “We are all saddened and shocked” that the former prime minister had been shot, Ambassador Rahm Emanuel said in a statement.
Calling Abe an “outstanding leader of Japan and unwavering ally of the US,” Emanuel said that the US government and American people were “praying for the well-being of Abe-san, his family, & people of Japan.”
Japan is due to hold elections for its upper house of parliament on Sunday, with the LDP projected to score a resounding victory.