Former Prime Minister of Japan shot: Shinzo Abe hit while giving a speech PHOTO/VIDEO

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was taken to hospital after he was shot while giving a speech in the city of Nara, as reported by state-run HNK TV.

Source: Tanjug
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Tanjug/ Kyodo News via AP
Tanjug/ Kyodo News via AP

Abe (67) was left unconscious after he was shot by an unidentified assailant, who was taken into custody by police at the scene, Kyodo reported.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said he did not know Abe's condition after the attack, and Kyodo news agency and NHK reported that Abe, 67, was unconscious and in cardiac arrest when he was taken to hospital.

The attacker was arrested immediately after the shooting and did not even try to escape, and NHK reports that the police confiscated his weapon and identified him.

Matsuno told a news conference that Abe was shot at around 11:30 a.m. local time and stressed that "such an act of barbarism cannot be tolerated," according to Reuters. TBS television reported that Abe was shot in the left side of the chest, and apparently also in the neck.

Gunshots were heard and a small plume of smoke was seen as Abe gave a speech for Sunday's election to parliament's upper house, the House of Councilors, outside a train station in the western city of Nara, according to NHK.

NHK reporter at the scene reported that two gunshots were heard in quick succession during Abe's speech. Abe was Japan's longest-serving two-term prime minister and resigned in 2020, citing health reasons.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stopped his election campaign after the attack on Abe and returned to Tokyo, according to the media.

Abe comes from a politically influential family, his maternal grandfather Nobusuke Kishi was the Japanese Prime Minister from 1957 to 1960, and his father, Shintaro Abe, was the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

Shinzo Abe visited Serbia in 2018, which was the first visit to Belgrade at such a high level in the last three decades, and he was honored on Vidovdan this year with the Order of the Republic of Serbia on a ribbon, for outstanding services in developing and strengthening peaceful cooperation and friendly relations between Serbia and Japan.

Tanjug/AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko
Tanjug/AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko

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