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Saturday, December 10, 2022

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated during a speech

NARA, Japan ( Associated Press) – Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was killed in a street in western Japan on Friday by a gunman who fired at him from behind while delivering a campaign speech – an attack that stunned the country has some of the strictest. gun control laws everywhere.

The 67-year-old Abe, who was Japan’s longest-serving leader when he resigned in 2020, collapsed bleeding and was taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital in Nara, although he was not breathing and his heart stopped. He was later pronounced dead after receiving massive blood transfusions, officials said.

LOOK: The legacy of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who resigns due to illness

Hidetada Fukushima, head of the emergency department at Nara Medical University, said Abe sustained major damage to his heart, along with two neck wounds that damaged an artery. He never regained his life signs, Fukushima said.

Nara Prefectural Police arrested the suspected gunman at the scene of the attack and identified him as Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, a former member of Japan’s navy. The broadcaster NHK reported that he said he wanted to kill Abe because he had complaints about him that were not related to politics.

Dramatic video from NHK shows Abe standing before Sunday’s parliamentary election and delivering a speech outside a train station in Nara. As he raised his fist to make a point, two gunshots rang out, and he collapsed while holding his chest, smearing his shirt with blood as security guards ran towards him.

Guards jumped on the armed man, who was lying face down on the sidewalk. A double-barreled device that looked like a handmade rifle was seen on the ground.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his cabinet ministers hastily returned to Tokyo from campaign events across the country after the shooting, which he called “horrific and barbaric”. He promised that the election, which elects members to Japan’s less powerful upper house of parliament, would proceed as planned.

“I use the harshest words to condemn (the act),” Kishida said, struggling to control his emotions. He said the government planned to review the security situation, but added that Abe had the highest level of protection.

Even though he was out of office, Abe was still highly influential in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and was at the head of his largest faction, Seiwakai.

Opposition leaders condemned the attack as a challenge to Japan’s democracy. In Tokyo, people stopped on the street to grab extra issues of newspapers or watch TV coverage of the shooting.

When he resigned as prime minister, Abe said he had a recurrence of the ulcerative colitis he had had since he was a teenager.

He told reporters at the time that it was “a failure” to leave many of his goals unfinished. He spoke of his failure to resolve the issue of Japanese kidnapping by North Korea years ago, a territorial dispute with Russia and a revision of Japan’s constitution that denied war.

That last goal made him a divisive figure. His ultra-nationalism upset the Koreans and China, and his pressure to create what he saw as a more normal defensive stance angered many Japanese. Abe could not achieve his cherished goal of formally rewriting the US-drafted pacifist constitution due to weak public support.

Loyalists said his legacy was a stronger relationship between the US and Japan that was intended to strengthen Japan’s defense capabilities. But Abe made enemies by forcing his defense goals and other controversial issues through parliament, despite strong public opposition.

Abe was cared for to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi. His political rhetoric has often focused on making Japan a “normal” and “beautiful” nation with a stronger military and greater role in international affairs.

Many foreign officials have expressed shock over the shooting – especially because of Japan’s strict gun laws. With a population of 125 million, Japan had only 10 gun-related criminal cases last year, leading to one death and four injuries, according to police. Eight of those cases were gang-related. Tokyo had no firearms incidents, injuries or deaths in the same year, although 61 rifles were seized.

Abe was proud of his work to strengthen Japan’s security alliance with the US and pay attention to the first visit by a serving US president to the atomic-bombed city of Hiroshima. He also helped Tokyo get the right to host the 2020 Olympics by promising that a disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant was “under control” when it was not.

Abe became Japan’s youngest prime minister in 2006, at the age of 52, but his overly nationalist first term ended abruptly a year later, also due to his health.

The end of Abe’s scandal-ridden first term as prime minister was the beginning of six years of annual leadership change, remembered as an era of “revolving door” politics that lacked stability and long-term policy.

When he returned to office in 2012, Abe promised to revive the nation and get its economy out of its deflationary stalemate with its “Abenomics” formula, which combines fiscal stimulus, monetary relief and structural reforms.

He won six national elections and built a rock-solid grip on power, strengthening Japan’s defensive role and capability and its security alliance with the US. He also strengthened patriotic education at schools and raised Japan’s international profile.

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