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".
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.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 8, 2022
"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.