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Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Assassinated

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a news conference at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, August 28, 2020. Franck Robichon/Pool via REUTERS

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated while giving a speech in Nara in western Japan Friday morning.

Abe was shot at twice during the speech and security officials tackled the gunman, according to BBC.

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The suspect, Tetsuya Yamagami, admitted to the shooting, claiming he used a homemade gun and had a grudge against a “specific organisation”, police said.

Earlier Friday, Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida gave a press conference where he said Abe, 67, was in “severe condition” and hoped for his survival.

When Abe was taken from the scene, he was unconscious and in cardiac arrest with no vital signs, reported Japanese media outlets Kyodo News and NHK.

After returning to Tokyo from a campaign trip, Kishida told reporters “I’m praying for former prime minister Abe’s survival from the bottom of my heart”.

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The prime minister called the attack “dastardly and barbaric” and said a crime during the election campaign is unforgivable.

World leaders began sharing their tributes after Abe’s death was confirmed.

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“I am stunned, outraged, and deeply saddened by the news that my friend Abe Shinzo, former Prime Minister of Japan, was shot and killed while campaigning,” President Joe Biden said.

“He was a unifier like no other, but above all, he was a man who loved and cherished his magnificent country, Japan. Shinzo Abe will be greatly missed. There will never be another like him!” said former President Donald Trump.

Former President Barack Obama added “I am shocked and saddened by the assassination of my friend and longtime partner Shinzo Abe in Japan. Former Prime Minister Abe was devoted to both the country he served and the extraordinary alliance between the United States and Japan”.

“A wonderful person, great democrat and champion of the multilateral world order has passed away. I mourn with his family, his friends and all the people of Japan. This brutal and cowardly murder of @AbeShinzo shocks the whole world,” tweeted European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson also took to Twitter to share his message, saying “Incredibly sad news about Shinzo Abe. His global leadership through unchartered times will be remembered by many. My thoughts are with his family, friends and the Japanese people. The UK stands with you at this dark and sad time”.

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