Japanese Ex-PM Shinzo Abe Shot in Chest

Details are still developing
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2022 10:47 PM CDT
Updated Jul 7, 2022 11:35 PM CDT
Japanese Ex-PM Shinzo Abe Shot in Chest During Speech
Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, falls on the ground in Nara, western Japan Friday, July 8, 2022.   (Kyodo News via AP)

This story has been updated with new details on Abe's condition. The former prime minister of Japan was reportedly shot in the chest during a political speech Friday afternoon. Media outlets were initially using words like "apparent shooting" to describe the still-unclear sequence of events, but photos from the scene show Shinzo Abe bloodied on the ground after collapsing. The details of his condition were difficult to determine: Bloomberg reported he was "unconscious and unresponsive" after the event, but police sources later said Abe was conscious and responsive while being rushed to a hospital.

Then a fire official said his heart had stopped and he was not breathing while he was airlifted. Per local media cited by the AP and CNN, Abe, 67, experienced heart failure and cardiopulmonary arrest. His current condition is unknown. A male suspect, described as young or middle-aged, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of attempted murder. Abe was giving an election campaign speech to support Liberal Democratic Party candidates ahead of Sunday's election for the upper house of parliament when he grabbed his chest and fell to the ground in Nara, in western Japan.

Witnesses reported hearing gunshots. Abe holds the record as Japan's longest-serving prime minister; he resigned in 2020 for health reasons. He served from 2006-07, then again from 2012-20, CNN reports. "For almost eight years I controlled my chronic disease, however, this year in June I had a regular check-up and there was a sign of the disease," he said in August of 2020, referring to the inflammatory bowel disease colitis. (Read more Shinzo Abe stories.)

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