Shinzo Abe, Friend Of India, Shot Dead At Election Meeting In Japan

Abe was shot at during a campaign speech on Friday in the city of Nara in western Japan.

Former Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Shot At, Rushed To Hospital
Former Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (Image: AP/PTI)

New Delhi: Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe died at the age of 67 on Friday after being shot at earlier in the day. Abe was shot at during a campaign speech on Friday in Nara in western Japan.

“Officials say former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has been confirmed dead. He was reportedly shot during a speech on Friday in the city of Nara, near Kyoto,” Japanese media outlet NHK tweeted on its official Twitter handle. The news was also confirmed by the Liberal Democratic Party sources, according to Kyoto news agency.

After being shot at, Abe was airlifted to a hospital but he was not breathing and his heart had stopped, officials said. Local fire department had reported Abe was in cardio and pulmonary arrest after being shot and was taken to a prefectural hospital.

Shinzo Abe shot dead in Nara Japan
Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, falls on the ground in Nara, western Japan Friday, July 8, 2022. Abe was in heart failure after being shot during a campaign speech. (AP/PTI)

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Japanese Police arrested a suspect in the shooting. He has been identified as Tetsuya Yamagami, a 41-year-old resident of Nara City, local media reports said.

Abe served as the Prime Minister of Japan from 2006-07 and from 2012-20. Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, Abe had stepped down in 2020 citing health reasons.

Shinzo Abe, India’s Special Friend

The former Japanese prime minister shared a special bond with India, which is also evident from the fact that he was given the Padma Vibhushan — India’s second-highest civilian award – in 2021. He has been credited of elevating India-Japan relations to the level of a Special Strategic and Global Partnership. Under him, Japan and India also forged robust economic partnerships.

Condoling his demise, Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote, “I am shocked and saddened beyond words at the tragic demise of one of my dearest friends, Shinzo Abe. He was a towering global statesman, an outstanding leader, and a remarkable administrator. He dedicated his life to make Japan and the world a better place.”

India also announced one-day national mourning to be observed on July 9 as a mark of respect.

Shinzo Abe dies
In this Sept 13, 2017 file image former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and PM Narendra Modi visit the Sidi Saiyyed Mosque, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. (PTI Photo)

All About Shinzo Abe

Born in Tokyo in a family of politicians, Abe’s father was Japan’s former foreign minister Shintaro Abe and his grandfather was former prime minister Nobusuke Kishi.

Abe graduated from Seikei University in Tokyo with a degree in political science. He then pursued public policy at the University of Southern California for three semesters.

Shinzo Abe began his career at Kobe Steel and then went on to pursue new positions at the Foreign Ministry and with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. In 1993, he was elected as a LDP legislator from the southwestern prefecture of Yamaguchi for the first time.

A conservative leader, member of the party’s Mori faction, Abe became chief cabinet secretary under Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in 2005. The same year he was elected head of the LDP and went on to become the prime minister next year. He continued in office till 2007 after which he resigned citing health issues. Abe had been suffering from ulcerative colitis but was able to control it with medication.

In 2012, he was again elected as the LDP president and became the prime minister for the second time.

Credited with bringing a degree of stability to Japan, in 2013, Abe launched his “Abenomics” policies featuring easy lending and structural reforms.

Re-elected as the LDP leader in 2014, he served two additional terms as prime minister for a total of four, till 2020.

On August 28, 2020, he announced his decision to finally step down as prime minister, again citing health reasons, after his ulcerative colitis flares up again. By that point, Abe had already become Japan’s longest-serving prime minister.

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