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Ex-Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dies after being shot during speech: Japan public broadcaster

A reporter with NHK, Japan's public broadcasting agency, reported hearing a gunshot and seeing Abe bleeding

Published: July 7, 2022 10:48pm

Updated: July 8, 2022 5:04am

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe died after he was shot while giving a speech Friday morning in Nara, Japan, reported NHK, Japan's public broadcasting agency.

Fire department officials told NHK shortly after the incident that the former prime minister is "showing no vital signs."

His death was confirmed several hours later by NHK.

An NHK journalist reported hearing two gunshots and seeing Abe bleeding.

An official with Abe's Liberal Democratic Party said the former prime minister was giving a street speech when the incident occurred.

Police officials told NHK that Abe "appears to have been shot from behind with a shotgun," the outlet reported on its Japanese language page, as translated.

Law enforcement said a suspect is in custody and is currently being questioned.

Japan's election is scheduled for this Sunday. 

Abe, who had a close relationship with then-President Donald Trump, became the country's longest serving prime minister before resigning in 2020 due to health concerns.

Japan's gun laws are incredibly strict and the nation rarely sees more than 10 gun deaths a year, Business Insider reported.

"We are all saddened and shocked by the shooting of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo.  Abe-san has been an outstanding leader of Japan and unwavering ally of the U.S. The U.S. Government and American people are praying for the well-being of Abe-san, his family, & people of Japan," U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel tweeted in response to the news of Abe's shooting.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated shortly.

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