"Saddened Beyond Words": PM Modi On Ex Japan PM's Assassination

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was "shocked and saddened beyond words at tragic demise of one of my dearest friends, Shinzo Abe".

PM Modi tweeted, "Our thoughts and prayers are with him". (FILE)

New Delhi:

Japanese former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe died after being shot today at a campaign event on Friday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was "shocked and saddened beyond words at tragic demise of one of my dearest friends, Shinzo Abe".

"My association with Mr. Abe goes back many years. I had got to know him during my tenure as Gujarat Chief Minister and our friendship continued after I became PM," he tweeted in his tribute for Abe.

Police arrested the suspected shooter as Tetsuya Yamagami, a resident of Nara. Reports claimed he was a former ecurity personnel.

"Such an act of barbarity cannot be tolerated," Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters, adding that Abe had been shot at about 11:30 am (local time).

Visuals showed video of Abe making a campaign speech outside a train station when two shots rang out, after which the view was briefly obscured and then security officials were seen tackling a man on the ground. A puff of smoke behind Abe could be seen in another video shown in Japan's public broadcaster NHK.

A photograph showed Abe lying face-up on the street by a guardrail, blood on his white shirt. People were crowded around him, one administering heart massage.

Shinzo Abe served two terms as prime minister to become Japan's longest-serving premier before stepping down in 2020 citing ill health.

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