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Thursday, December 01, 2022

Abe’s body arrives in Tokyo, Japan mourns former president

TOKYO ( Associated Press) – The body of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was returned to Tokyo on Saturday after the former president was shot dead the previous day while speaking at a campaign rally in the west of the country.

Abe was attacked in the city of Nara and airlifted to a local hospital, but bled to death despite emergency treatment that included massive blood transfusions. Police arrested the attacker, a former Japanese naval officer, on suspicion of murder at the scene. Police confiscated the homemade gun he used, and they were later found in his apartment.

The attacker told investigators he planned the murder because he believed the rumors that Abe was linked to an organization he held a grudge against, according to police. Japanese media said the man detested a religious group to which his mother was devoted. The reports did not identify the group.

A black hearse containing Abe’s body and also carrying his wife, Akie, arrived at their home in the affluent residential area of ​​Shibuya, where many mourners waited and bowed their heads as the vehicle passed.

Abe’s assassination ahead of Sunday’s parliamentary elections shocked the country, where it was seen as a threat to democracy, and sparked a debate over whether Abe’s security was adequate.

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According to autopsy results, a bullet that entered Abe’s arm damaged the arteries under both collarbones, causing fatal bleeding, police said Saturday.

Some analysts who saw videos of the murder on television and on social media said the open space behind Abe was not attended to as he spoke.

A former Tokyo prefectural police investigator, Fumikazu Higuchi, said the footage suggested there was not enough security for a former prime minister.

In videos circulating on social media, the assailant, identified as Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, can be seen with the homemade gun hanging from the man, a few meters behind Abe on a busy street and looking at him. .

A few minutes after Abe begins his speech, Yamagami is seen firing his first shot, which sets off a puff of smoke, but appears to have missed Abe.

As Abe turns to face the source of the noise, a second shot is heard. This one seems to hit Abe’s left arm, without hitting a bulletproof briefcase held up by a security guard who was under the former president.

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Abe falls to the ground with his left arm crossed over his chest. Then event organizers request medical personnel over the loudspeakers. Abe’s heart and breathing stopped as he was airlifted to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

According to the Asahi newspaper, Yamagami was a contractor at a warehouse in Kyoto, where he was known as a quiet person who did not socialize with his peers. A neighbor of the suspect told Asahi that he has never met Yamagami, but for the past month he has heard noises at night like the sound of a saw.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, who had an initially strained relationship with Abe, sent a message of condolences to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Saturday, a day after most world leaders.

Xi credited Abe for making efforts to improve China-Japan relations, saying the two reached an important understanding on how to improve their ties, according to a statement on the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s website.

Despite no longer leading the government, Abe was still very influential in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and led its main faction. However, his ultranationalist views made him a divisive person for many.

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