Shinzo Abe: Japan ex-PM injured after reported gunshot attack

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has collapsed after he was shot at an event in the city of Nara, BBC reported.

Mr Abe was shot at twice while he was giving a speech, causing him to fall to the ground. His attacker has been arrested.

Ex-Tokyo governor Yoichi Masuzoe said in a tweet that the 67-year-old Mr Abe was in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest.

The term is often used before a death is officially confirmed in Japan.

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency confirmed that Mr Abe had a bullet wound on the right of his neck, and also suffered subcutaneous bleeding under the left part of his chest.

It is unclear if both shots hit him, or if a bullet hit him on the neck and travelled elsewhere.

“Former prime minister Abe was shot at around 11:30 local time (02:30 GMT) in Nara. One man, believed to be the shooter, has been taken into custody. The condition of former prime minister Abe is currently unknown,” chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters.

“Whatever the reason, such a barbaric act can never be tolerated, and we strongly condemn it.”

Eyewitnesses see man with large gun

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 taken to hospital.

Mr Abe was giving a stump speech for a candidate in Nara when the attack happened – eyewitnesses said they saw a man caryring what they described as a large gun and firing from behind.

He immediately fell to the ground bleeding. Security officers detained the attacker who made no attempt to run.

Local news broadcaster NHK said Mr Abe was “conscious and responsive” while being transported after the shooting, citing police sources. The broadcaster also added that police have seized the attacker’s gun and identified him.

NHK added that the suspect – who has been identified as Tetsuya Yamagami – used a handmade gun. He is believed to be in his 40s and is a resident of Nara.

Local media reports say he is believed to be a former member of Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force, the local equivalent of a navy.

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