Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has died after being shot on Friday while delivering a speech in the western city of Nara.
Abe was reportedly unconscious, unresponsive, and showing no vital signs as he was being transported to the hospital following the attack. Abe, the country’s longest-serving prime minister before resigning two years ago, was pronounced dead a short time later.
Government sources, cited in various media reports, initially described Abe’s condition at Nara Medical University Hospital as critical, according to The Washington Post. The man who allegedly shot Abe told local police that he was “frustrated” with him and that he hoped to kill him.
The man who shot former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has told police that he was "frustrated" with him and that he had hoped to kill him.
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) July 8, 2022
“This is a despicable and barbaric act that occurred in the midst of an election which is the foundation of democracy and absolutely cannot be tolerated,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said. “We condemn it in the harshest possible terms. We will take all possible measures to prepare for every possible situation.”
The White House released a statement condemning the attack, adding, “We are closely monitoring the reports and keeping our thoughts with his family and the people of Japan.”
The statement from the White House came after former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence issued statements about the shooting.
“Absolutely devastating news that former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, a truly great man and leader, has been shot, and is in very serious condition,” Trump said. “He was a true friend of mine and, much more importantly, America. This is a tremendous blow to the wonderful people of Japan, who loved and admired him so much. We are all praying for Shinzo and his beautiful family!”
“.@KarenPence and I were deeply troubled to learn of the shooting of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe,” Pence tweeted. “Abe-san was a remarkable leader of Japan and an unshakeable ally of the U.S. We join millions praying for this truly good man and his family. God bless Shinzo Abe.”
.@KarenPence and I were deeply troubled to learn of the shooting of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Abe-san was a remarkable leader of Japan and an unshakeable ally of the U.S. We join millions praying for this truly good man and his family. God bless Shinzo Abe pic.twitter.com/ojTYkOZxe8
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) July 8, 2022
Abe, a center-right politician, became Japan’s longest-serving prime minister since WWII, serving between 2012 and 2020.