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Japan’s Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Shot and Killed

HeadlineJul 08, 2022

Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been shot and killed by an assassin wielding what appeared to be a homemade gun. Abe was campaigning for a parliamentary election Friday morning in the city of Nara in central Japan when two shots rang out. Images of the attack’s aftermath show security officials tackling a man in a gray T-shirt; they later named the 41-year-old suspect as Tetsuya Yamagami, a former member of Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force. Footage from the scene shows what appears to be an improvised double-barreled gun. Japan’s strict gun control laws prevent almost everyone from possessing firearms. In 2021, there were 10 shooting incidents in Japan and just one gun death; by comparison, the U.S. typically records 45,000 gun fatalities each year.

Shinzo Abe was airlifted to a nearby hospital with injuries to his neck and heart. He was pronounced dead earlier today from blood loss. He was 67 years old. Abe was Japan’s longest-running prime minister when he stepped down in 2020, citing poor health. Over nearly eight years in office, Abe remained pro-nuclear, despite the 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown following an earthquake and tsunami. Throughout his career, Abe tried unsuccessfully to do away with Article 9 of Japan’s Peace Constitution, which renounces war and bars Japan from using — or threatening to use — military force.

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