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Everything You Need to Know About Shinzo Abe and Friday’s Shooting

Shinzo Abe assassinated in Nara, Japan.

Credit: YouTube/Inside Edition (left) and Shutterstock/GIACOMO MORINI

On Friday, July 8, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was fatally shot in Nara, Japan. He was speaking at a campaign event for Japan’s upcoming election at the time of his assassination.

According to the Japanese police, Abe was shot in both the chest and the neck.

The current suspect is Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, who was arrested Sunday morning on the charge of attempted murder and is currently being held for questioning at the Nara Nishi police station. According to the Nara Nishi police news conference on Friday, Tetsuya Yamagami confessed to shooting Abe.

Credit: Shutterstock/Alexandros Michailidis

After the original shooting, Abe was in cardiopulmonary arrest. He received emergency medical care for his critical condition at the nearby Nara Medical University hospital. Due to his wounds, Abe suffered excessive bleeding which medical staff waere unable to mitigate, even with blood transfusions. He died at 5:03pm local time.

Abe was 67 years old at the time of his death. In 2020, he retired from his position as the country’s Prime Minister due to health issues.

Abe served two terms during his political career: the former from 2006-2007, and again from 2012-2020. During his second eight-year term as Prime Ministry, Abe served the longest consecutive term for a head of government in modern Japan.

Despite his resignation, Abe maintained a strong presence in the political world, especially in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). At the moment of the attack, Abe was speaking on behalf of LDP candidates participating in the upcoming Upper House elections, to occur on Sunday June 10.

Credit: Shutterstock/JoshuaDaniels

Abe served as a leader for the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party (LDP or Jimintō), a right-wing party devoted to conservative and nationalist ideologies. Abe specifically focused on bolstering governmental expenditure for Japanese defense systems. In 2015, for the first time since World War II’s close, Abe allowed Japanese military to engage in combat overseas.

Abe’s work in office and post-resignation signaled a major shift in the country’s largely pacifist constitution and operations since the mid-1900s. Even after stepping down from his position as Prime Minister, Abe continued to advocate for strong Japanese military and security systems.

Guns are not common in Japan. In fact, gun laws are incredibly strict and gun violence is almost entirely eradicated in Japan, with a firearm death rate of 0.01 per 100,000 people. In the year of 2021, only one person was killed by gun violence in Japan (as compared 45,034 firearm deaths in 2021 in the United States).

The gun-related death of such a prominent figure sent shockwaves throughout the country. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said on the subject: “Such barbaric behavior is unacceptable for any reason and we firmly condemn it. The government will take all possible measures to deal with the situation.”

Credit: YouTube/Inside Edition

To carry out his shooting, Yamigami allegedly made his own firearm. Photos from the scene feature what appears to be two metal barrels bound together with black electrical tape. The weapon is 40 centimeters (16 inches) long. Local police report several other gun-like weapons were found in Yamigami’s apartment, some bearing as many as six pipes on one gun.

Japan’s director of International Security Industrial Council Nancy Snow noted, that Friday’s event was “not only rare, but it’s really culturally unfathomable. The Japanese people can’t imagine having a gun culture as we have in the United States. This is a speechless moment. I really feel at a loss for words.”

Interested in reading more about the latest in gun violence? Click here to read about the latest suspect in Highland Park’s Fourth of July shooting, charged with the murder of seven individuals.

Written By

Makenna Dykstra (she/her) is currently pursuing her M.A. in English Literature at Tulane University in New Orleans. She writes journalism and poetry.

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