BREAKING: Japan’s longest-serving prime minister shot on stage during campaign
Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has collapsed after he was shot at an event in the city of Nara.
Mr Abe was shot twice, with the second shot hitting him in the back, causing him to fall to the ground. Reports say his attacker has since been arrested.
Ex-Tokyo governor Yoichi Masuzoe said in a tweet that Mr Abe was in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest.
The term is often used before a death is officially confirmed in Japan.
Videos circulating on social media, which could not be verified, appear to show paramedics huddled around Mr Abe in the middle of a street. He has now reportedly been rushed to hospital.
Mr Abe was giving a stump speech for a candidate in Nara when the attacked happened – eye-witnesses say they saw a man with what they described as a large gun fire from behind, according to the BBC’s Japan correspondent Rupert Wingfield-Hayes.
The first shot appears to have missed but the second shot hit Mr Abe in the back. He immediately fell to the ground bleeding.
Security then detained the attacker who made no attempt to run.
Local news broadcaster NHK reports that police have seized his gun and identified him.
Mr Abe, who was Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, stepped down in 2020 citing health reasons. He later revealed that he had suffered a relapse of ulcerative colitis, an intestinal disease.
He was succeeded by his close party ally Yoshihide Suga, who was later replaced by Fumio Kishida.
Incidents of gun violence are rare in Japan, where handguns are banned – and incidents of political violence are almost unheard of.
In 2014, there were just six incidents of gun deaths in Japan, as compared to 33,599 in the US. People have to undergo a strict exam and mental health tests in order to buy a gun – and even then, only shotguns and air rifles are allowed. (Text, excluding headline: BBC)