Tokyo: Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe passed away on Friday, hours after being shot while addressing an election rally in the city of Nara, according to state media.
A doctor attending on Abe in Nara Medical University Hospital said that the leader died at 08:03 GMT, BBC reported.
“During four and a half hour treatment, medics tried to stop the bleeding and carried out a blood transfusion, using more than 100 units of blood,” the doctor said.
Abe sustained two wounds, believed to be bullet injuries, but medics could not find bullets during surgery, the doctor added.
Abe, 67, immediately collapsed after being shot and was seen bleeding before he was taken to hospital.
According to state broadcaster NHK, the attack took place at around 11.30 a.m. (local time) near the Yamatosaidaiji Station in Nara city while Abe was making a speech during a Liberal Democratic Party candidate’s election campaign.
The suspect, identified as 41-year-old Yamagami Tetsuya, a resident of Nara city, has been arrested.
According to the police, the accused told investigators that he was dissatisfied with the former Prime Minister and intended to kill him.
Investigative sources told NHK a gun seized at the scene appeared to be handmade.
Japan is slated to hold parliamentary election this Sunday.
Abe’s visit was only confirmed late last night, so how the suspect managed to find out about this and carry out the attack remains an open question, said the BBC.
Speaking to reporters in Tokyo, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the attack was a “despicable act that took place during an election period, which is the foundation of democracy”, state broadcaster NHK reported.
“It is totally unacceptable. I condemn the act in the strongest possible terms.”
The Prime Minister added that “it is important for the government to prepare to take all necessary measures to deal with any possible situation”.
Sources added that the suspect worked for the Maritime Self Defense Force for three years until around 2005.
Abe became Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister after serving from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2012 to 2020.
He stepped down in 2020 citing health reasons.
He later revealed that he had suffered a relapse of ulcerative colitis, an intestinal disease, the BBC reported.
He was succeeded by his close party ally Yoshihide Suga, who was later replaced by Fumio Kishida.
Key figures from across the world have condemned the incident.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced a day-long national mourning for Shinzo Abe.