Home / News / World /  8 July 2022: A look back at when Shinzo Abe was assassinated while giving speech

8 July, 2022, Friday the date on which in a rare incident of political violence in Japan, the former prime minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated by a gunman who opened fire at close range as the hugely influential politician delivered a campaign speech. It was all the more shocking given Japan's strict gun laws and low rates of violent crime in the country.

The murder of the 67-year-old, who had been Japan's longest-serving leader, stunned the nation and prompted an international outpouring of grief and condemnation.The attack occurred as Abe delivered a stump speech with security present, but spectators able to approach him easily.It was the first assassination of a sitting or former Japanese premier since the days of pre-war militarism in the 1930s.

Shinzo Abe was making a campaign speech outside a train station when two shots rang out. Security officials were then seen tackling a man in a grey T-shirt and beige trousers.

Shinzo Abe was shot shortly before noon while campaigning in the western region of Nara ahead of weekend upper house elections. The former PM of Japan had suffered two gunshot wounds to the neck and died of massive blood loss, despite being administered enormous transfusions.

Footage broadcast by NHK showed him standing on a stage when a man dressed in a grey shirt and brown trousers approached from behind, before drawing a weapon from a bag and firing. At least two shots appear to be fired, each producing a cloud of smoke.

As spectators and reporters ducked, a man was shown being tackled to the ground by security and he was arrested. Local media identified the man as 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami, citing police sources, with several media outlets describing him as a former member of the Maritime Self-Defense Force, the country's navy.

Sinzo Abe served two terms as Prime Minister, stepping down in 2020 citing ill health. But he has remained a dominant presence over the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), controlling one of its major factions.

*With inputs from agencies

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