Japan’s Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Assassinated During Campaign Speech

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was fatally shot Friday as he delivered a campaign speech on behalf of a member of his party just days ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections.

Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, was rushed to a hospital with wounds to his neck and left collarbone, apparently inflicted by a blast from a homemade shotgun. Hours later, news broke of Abe’s passing.

Police arrested the suspected gunman on the scene. The Financial Times reported that authorities in Nara, where the shooting took place, “named the suspect as Tetsuya Yamagami, a resident of the city, with no known occupation. According to the defense ministry, he served in the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force from 2002 to 2005.”

“This attack is an act of brutality that happened during the elections — the very foundation of our democracy — and is absolutely unforgivable,” said current Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

“I am greatly shocked to hear that former Prime Minister Abe was shot today,” said Takayoshi Yokoyama, a climate campaigner with 350 Japan. “Such violence is unacceptable. 350 Japan condemns any forms of violence, and we seek solutions to the climate crisis through peaceful, non-violent citizen action.”

The shooting prompted expressions of outrage and grief from world leaders.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry dubbed the assassination “an act of terrorism” and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez offered his “resounding condemnation of this cowardly attack.”

“Spain stands in solidarity with the Japanese people in these difficult times,” Sánchez wrote in a Twitter post.