Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has died from gunshot wounds sustained during a campaign speech in Nara, Japan on Friday morning.
A spokesperson for Nara Medical University confirmed the tragic news in a press conference Friday, reported CNN.
Japan’s longest-serving prime minister was officially pronounced dead at 5:03 p.m. local time, the outlet added. He was 67.
According to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in Tokyo, Abe, was shot in the right side of his neck at around 11:30 a.m. local time while speaking at a campaign rally ahead of Japan’s Upper House elections on Sunday, Japan’s public media organization NHK, reported.
He then collapsed and was immediately rushed to Nara Medical University for treatment, the outlet said.
CNN reported that a team of 20 medical professionals immediately began treating him. Doctors at Nara Medical University said Abe was struck by a bullet “deep enough to reach his heart” at the press conference Friday, but surgeons had found it impossible to stem the bleeding.
Police have arrested Yamagami Tetsuya for the attack, NHK confirmed Friday, adding that a handmade gun was discovered at the scene.
The broadcaster said Tetsuya, 41, lived in Nara city and once worked for Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force. He also reportedly told police that he was angry with the former prime minister and deliberately set out to kill him, NHK added.
Tributes from political leaders around the world have flooded in since the news of the tragic shooting was announced.
The BBC reported that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he was “deeply saddened and deeply concerned” by the shooting at the G20 gathering of foreign ministers in Indonesia.
“Our thoughts, our prayers are with him, with his family, with the people of Japan,” Blinken said Friday, according to the BBC. “This is a very, very sad moment. And we’re awaiting news from Japan.”
French President, Emmanuel Macron stated that he was also “Deeply shocked by the heinous attack that Shinzo Abe suffered,” on Twitter Friday. “Thoughts to the family and loved ones of a great Prime Minister. France stands alongside the Japanese people,” Macron said.
British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson – who resigned from 10 Downing Street on Thursday – said in a tweet that he was “Utterly appalled and saddened to hear about the despicable attack on Shinzo Abe. My thoughts are with his family and loved ones.”
“Incredibly sad news about Shinzo Abe. His global leadership through unchartered times will be remembered by many,” Johnson wrote. “My thoughts are with his family, friends and the Japanese people. The UK stands with you at this dark and sad time.”
Japan has one of the lowest rates of gun deaths in the world, according to Business Insider.
Abe served as prime minister of Japan from 2006 to 2007, and from 2012 to 2020.