Shinzo Abe Assassination Updates: World Lost a 'Great Leader,' DeSantis Says

Live Updates
  • Japan's former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has died after being shot while giving a speech at a political campaign event.
  • The 67-year-old suffered a gunshot to his neck during the event in the southern city of Nara Friday morning local time, the Japanese government has confirmed. After "excessive bleeding," Abe was pronounced dead by doctors at 5:03 p.m. local time.
  • Abe, who led Japan's Liberal Democratic party, is Japan's longest-serving prime minister, having held office briefly in 2006 and again from 2012 to 2020.
  • Fumio Kishida, Japan's current prime minister, vowed Japan "will never yield to violence" and said he will continue with this month's elections.
  • Police arrested 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami at the scene on suspicion of attempted murder, according to Japanese media.
  • World leaders shared their reactions to the shooting as more details emerged.
Shinzo Abe delivers a speech in Tokyo
This July 6, 2022, photograph shows Shinzo Abe delivering a campaign speech for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) candidate Keiichiro Asao for the Upper House election in Yokohama, suburban Tokyo. Abe, a former prime minister of Japan, was shot at a campaign event on July 8. Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP via Getty Images

Live Updates Have Ended.

World Lost a 'Great Leader,' DeSantis Says

The world lost a "great leader" with the assassination of Shinzo Abe, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Friday.

DeSantis addressed the death of the former prime minister of Japan while speaking publicly at an event celebrating DeSantis' executive order aimed at lowering prescription drug costs.

Abe "was a great leader, a great man, and was a heck of an ally to this country," DeSantis said. "He understood freedom, he understood the threat posed by China, and he understood the importance of having a strong U.S.-Japan relationship."

A summit that will aspire to enhance business ties between Japan and Florida is to take place this fall. DeSantis said Florida is "looking forward" to hosting the summit but said news of Abe's death "cast a pall" over the plans.

"The world lost a really, really great leader, and we hope the people of Japan get through this time properly," DeSantis continued. "We will certainly be keeping them in our thoughts and prayers."

Attack Could be 'Wake Up Call' for Japan

Experts are calling the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a "wake up call" in a country with relatively low gun violence.

Japan, a country with 125 million people, had only 10 gun-related criminal cases last year, according to the Associated Press. Of those instances, there was only one death and four injuries, police said. Eight of those cases were gang-related.

The last high-profile shooting in Japan happened in 2019, when a former gang member was shot at a karaoke venue in Tokyo.

"Japanese people are in a state of shock," Shiro Kawamoto, professor at the College of Risk Management at Nihon University in Tokyo, told the Associated Press.

Kawamoto said this attack serves as a "wake-up call" that gun violence can happen in Japan.

"Security to protect Japanese politicians must be re-examined," Kawamoto said. "To assume this kind of attack will never happen would be a big mistake."

Low rates of gun violence in Japan may be the result of stringent measures required to own a gun.

Possessing a firearm in Japan is illegal without a special license. Only shotguns and air rifles are permitted, while handguns are outlawed.

In order to own a gun, people must undergo a mental health evaluation and rigorous background checks that review criminal record, personal debt and involved in organized crime. People also must pass both a written and shooting-range accuracy test

Once approved to own a gun, people must also buy a special gun locking system and register their weapon with police.

These tight restrictions have kept private gun ownership in Japan low.

The suspected shooter in this incident, however, circumvented these restrictions by making his own gun. Police said the suspect used a homemade gun and had several similar hand-made weapons at his home.

Past Political Assassinations in Japan

The assassination of Shinzo Abe came as a surprise to many who are familiar with the limited gun violence in Japan, but there have been multiple assassinations and attempted assassinations of the country's political leaders in the last century.

Abe's grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, also served as Japan's prime minister decades ago and was stabbed during his final days in office in 1960, according to The Japan Times. Kishi ultimately survived the injuries he sustained in the attack.

Just over 100 years ago, former Prime Minister Takashi Hara was fatally stabbed at Tokyo Station in late 1921, the Times reported. Another prime minister was attacked at Tokyo Station roughly nine years later and ultimately died of his injuries in 1931. That assassination was followed by the 1932 killing of then-Prime Minister Tsuyoshi Inukai at his office, according to the Times.

A handful of assassination attempts targeting two prime ministers and a deputy prime minister occurred between the mid-1970s and the mid-1990s, the paper reported.

Mayors and governors have also been targeted by assassination attempts, some of which have been successful. An attack targeting Nagasaki Mayor Itcho Ito near his re-election campaign office in 2007 resulted in Ito's death, according to Reuters.

Biden Pays Respects at Japanese Embassy

President Joe Biden visited the Japanese Embassy in Washington D.C. to pay his respects after the death of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Biden signed the condolence book and laid flowers to honor Abe.

After signing an Executive Order to protect reproduction rights, Biden told reporters he reached out to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and said he would visit the embassy later today. The Department of Justice will be looking into the details of the assassination, Biden added.

He said the current prime minister is a "solid guy" and said he does not believe this incident will have any profound destabilizing impact on Japan's security or solidarity. He added that Japan remains a "very stable ally."

Biden also noted the vast difference in gun violence in Japan and the United States.

Biden Japanese Embassy
US President Joe Biden, with Ambassador Koji Tomita, signs a condolence book at the Japanese Ambassadors residence in Washington, DC, on July 8, 2022. - Japan's former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated on Friday by a gunman who opened fire at close range as the hugely influential politician delivered a campaign speech. SAMUEL CORUM//AFP via Getty Images

Biden Orders Lowering of Flags

President Joe Biden ordered the lowering of the American flag as "a mark of respect" for Shinzo Abe, Japan's former prime minister who was fatally shot on Friday.

Biden ordered the U.S. flag to be flown at half-staff at the White House, on all public grounds and buildings, at military and naval posts, and on U.S. naval ships. U.S. flags were also to fly at half-staff at U.S. embassies around the world.

The flags are to remain lowered through sunset on July 10.

Abe was "a proud servant of the Japanese people and a faithful friend to the United States," Biden said in a proclamation the White House issued Friday afternoon. "He worked with American Presidents of both parties to deepen the Alliance between our nations and advance a common vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific. Even in the moment he was attacked and killed, he was engaged in the work of democracy, to which he dedicated his life."

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken offered his "sincerest condolences" in a Friday statement.

"Prime Minister Abe was a global leader and unwavering ally and friend of the United States, whose vision of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific lifted our Alliance cooperation to new heights," Blinken's statement said. "We offer our thoughts to Prime Minister Abe's family and the people of Japan. Together with them and the world, we mourn his passing."

Death Celebrated on Chinese Social Media

Some people in China welcomed the news of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's death Friday.

Chinese artist and activist Badiucao shared the anti-Japanese sentiments shared on social media following the shooting.

Before Abe was declared dead, users on Weibo reportedly called the shooter a "hero" and sent death wished to Abe. Someone said they were "waiting for Abe's death" and wanted to donate money to the shooter.

On WeChat and Twitter, users celebrated news that Abe died. Some people said they were "happy" that Abe died and wanted to "open champagne."

One tweet read: "I hate my country's government, but that doesn't stop me from loving my country or celebrating Abe's death. Good to die. Pop champagne! Well done."

Anti-Japanese sentiment rooted in nationalist conflict and previous wars is common in China. For example, it was a Chinese nationalist government that led China through the second Sino-Japanese War against Japan between 1937 and 1945. Many Chinese still feel acrimony towards the Japanese for the war crimes committed during that conflict, and for seizing swathes of mainland China.

Rio Olympics Appearance Remembered

Professional athletes, sports fans and journalists recalled former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's appearance at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio in the wake of Abe's death on Friday.

Abe appeared dressed as Mario from the Super Mario Bros. during the closing ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics. His appearance was a nod to how Japan was set to host the next Summer Olympic Games, initially set to take place in 2020.

Images and video clips from that 2016 appearance began popping up on social media in the hours after Abe's death, according to Fox News.

Professional athletes and teams also released statements remembering Abe.

British double Olympic gold medalist Seb Coe recalled working with Abe leading up to the Tokyo Summer Games.

"I am deeply shocked by the barbaric killing of Shinzo Abe," Coe said on Twitter. "We became colleagues and friends through the process of Tokyo hosting the 2020 Olympic Games. I want to send my most sincere condolences to his family and the nation of Japan."

The International Surfing Association credited Abe in a tweet as being "instrumental" in securing Tokyo as an Olympics host city.

Professional tennis player Naomi Osaka retweeted comments about Abe shared by former U.S. President Barack Obama before posting a tweet of her own that included a Japanese flag emoji.

The International Olympic Committee also released a statement mourning the death of Abe and ordered the Olympic flag to fly at half-mast at the Olympic House in Lausanne.

Shinzo Abe at 2016 Rio Summer Olympics
Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appears during the 'Love Sport Tokyo 2020' segment during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracana Stadium on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. David Ramos/Getty Images

Trump Had Close Relationship with Abe

While former President Donald Trump had strained relationships with some foreign allies during his tenure in office, his relationship with former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was special.

Ayumi Teraoka, a doctoral candidate in security studies at Princeton University told the Center for Strategic and International Studies that "no foreign leader has closer ties" with Trump than Abe.

Abe was the first foreign leader to meet with Trump after he won the presidential election in 2016.

Trump welcomed Abe to both the White House and his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. The leaders have shared meals and played several rounds of golf.

Trump visited Japan twice, in 2017 and 2019 and was the first foreign leader to meet the Japan's new emperor Narauhito. In June 2020, Trump also attended the G20 summit in Japan.

The two leaders met 20 times, played five rounds of gold and had 32 phone calls, Teraoka said.

Trump, Abe White House
Trumo, Abe Golf
Trump Eat with Abe
Donald Trump Shinzo Abe

Notably, Abe nominated Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize for opening talks and easing tensions with North Korea.

Trump called the news that Abe was shot "devastating."

"He was a true friend of mine and, much more importantly, America," Trump said in a statement. "This is a tremendous blow to the wonderful people of Japan, who loved and admired him so much."

After news of Abe's death, Trump said the former prime minister "will be greatly missed."

"Few people know what a great man and leader Shinzo Abe was," Trump said on his Truth Social page. "There will never be another like him."

Timeline of Shinzo Abe's Career

Shinzo Abe served as Japan's prime minister longer than any other politician in the country's history, according to The Associated Press.

Abe briefly stepped into the prime minister role in 2006 while serving as president of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), but he resigned in 2007. He became prime minister again in 2012 and held the role until 2020.

Born in Tokyo in 1954, Abe studied political science at Seikei University before graduating in 1977. Abe also briefly studied public policy at the University of Southern California, according to the AP. He got a job at Kobe Steel, Ltd. in 1979 before beginning his foray into politics in 1982 as the executive assistant to the minister for foreign affairs.

Abe's career timeline on a government website shows his first elected role was in Japan's House of Representatives in 1993, in which he represented residents of Shimonoseki and Nagato as a member of the LDP. Abe was re-elected to that position seven times.

While in the House, Abe was the trustee of the Committee on Health and Welfare and, from 2000 to 2002, served as the deputy chief cabinet secretary. He became the chief cabinet secretary in 2005 while Junichiro Koizumi was prime minister.

As part of the LDP, Abe was the director of the party's Social Affairs Division before becoming its secretary-general in 2003. He became the LDP president in 2005 before rising to the role of prime minister one year later, a position he shortly thereafter resigned from when the LDP lost legislative control, according to the AP.

Abe had a second try in 2012 at both leading the LDP and being prime minister. He was prime minister for four terms before resigning in 2020 and has remained politically active in the two years since, the AP reported.

Shinzo Abe photographed in 2012
Shinzo Abe gives a speech from the roof of a campaign car during his party election campaign on December 13, 2012 in Osaka, Japan. Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images

Suspect Used Homemade Gun in Attack

The suspected shooter who killed former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe used a homemade gun, police told reporter at a press briefing Friday.

Nara prefectural police arrested a suspect on the scene and later identified him at 41-year-old local resident Tetsuya Yamagami. He was a former member of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force for three years until 2005.

The gun used in the attack appears to be homemade, police said. Several similar homemade weapons were recovered from the suspect home by police.

Police said the suspect confessed to shooting Abe. He told police he had a grudge against Abe because he was part of a "specific organization," investigators said in a press briefing. Yamagami added that he "aimed to kill" Abe.

A 90-person taskforce is investigating the crime, police said.

Doctors Shinzo Abe
Kimihiko Kichikawa (centre L), the head of the university hospital, and Hidetada Fukushima (centre R), professor of emergency medicine, from the Nara Medical University Hospital, hold a press conference in Kashihara, Nara Prefecture, where former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was taken after being shot earlier in the day in Nara on July 8, 2022. - Japan's former prime minister Shinzo Abe has been confirmed dead after he was shot at a campaign event in the city of Nara on July 8, 2022, public broadcaster NHK and Jiji news agency reported. PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images

Doctors said Abe had no vital signs when he arrived to the hospital he was shot during a campaign speech Friday.

Abe was taken to the Nara Medical University Hospital with gunshot wounds to the neck and chest, damaging major blood vessels and his heart.

During the news conference, medics said Abe had no vital signs when he arrived to the hospital. Doctor Fukushima Hidetada said Abe was in cardio-respiratory arrest and doctors tried to resuscitate him. Abe was in "extremely serious" and "very grave" condition upon arrival, Hidetada said.

The former prime minister received a massive blood transfusion and was in surgery for about three hours. He was declared dead at 5:03 p.m. local time. Doctors said Abe bled to death from the wounds on the right side of his neck.

World Leaders Mourn 'Tragic Death'

Several current and former world leaders took to social media on Friday to offer condolences and share memories of Shinzo Abe, Japan's former prime minister, in the wake of his assassination.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was "deeply saddened" by the "incredibly shocking" assassination.

"The world has lost a great man of vision, and Canada has lost a close friend," Trudeau said. "My thoughts are with his wife, Akie, and the people of Japan as they mourn this loss. You'll be missed, my friend."

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson also tweeted about the "incredibly sad" news of Abe's death.

"His global leadership through unchartered times will be remembered by many," Johnson said on Twitter.

Johnson's official prime minister account on Twitter also recognized Abe's "tragic death" in a Friday tweet.

"The United Kingdom mourns the tragic death of former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, a great friend of this country," the tweet said. "Our thoughts are with his family and the Japanese people at this dark and sad time."

Former U.S. President Barack Obama recalled the work he did with Abe while in office to "strengthen" the U.S.-Japan alliance in a series of tweets.

"I am shocked and saddened by the assassination of my friend and longtime partner Shinzo Abe in Japan," Obama's comments read in part. "Former Prime Minister Abe was devoted to both the country he served and the extraordinary alliance between the United States and Japan."

Twitter, Facebook to Remove Graphic Videos of Attack

Twitter and Facebook will remove videos of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's assassination from their platforms.

The social media giants said the videos showing the gunman firing at Abe violate their rules against harmful content.

"We are deeply saddened and shocked at the passing of the former Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Shinzo Abe," Meta said in a prepared statement.

"We do not and will not tolerate any violent behavior on our platform. To keep our platform a safe place to connect, we are working to remove any violating content related to the incident," the statement read.

Since Abe was shot early Friday morning, multiple videos showing the gunman firing his weapon have circulated on social media. While some only show the before and after of the attack, other show the shots being fired.

Meta said it will delete videos showing the moment of the attack, as they violate the company's policy on dangerous individuals. Photos of the attack will be labeled as "disturbing."

The shooting suspect's Facebook and Instagram accounts have also been disabled.

Twitter said its enforcement teams are working to "address harmful content" related to the attack, according to the Associated Press. The company said it will privately remove material that violates its rules against sensitive media including graphic violence.

Biden 'Stunned, Outraged' Over Loss of 'Friend'

President Joe Biden is "stunned, outraged and deeply saddened" by the death of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

"This is a tragedy for Japan and for all who knew him," Biden said in a statement, calling Abe a "friend."

Biden said he worked closely with Abe dating back to his time as vice president.

"As Vice President, I visited him in Tokyo and welcomed him to Washington," Biden said. "He was a champion of the Alliance between our nations and the friendship between our people."

Abe "cared deeply" about the Japanese people and "dedicated his life to their service," Biden said.

Biden said Abe was also dedicated to democracy and promised that Abe's vision of a "free and open Indo-Pacific will endure."

The U.S. president knows the tragic impact of gun violence all too well and shared his condolences with the Japanese people.

"While there are many details that we do not yet know, we know that violent attacks are never acceptable and that gun violence always leaves a deep scar on the communities that are affected by it," Biden said.

"The United States stands with Japan in this moment of grief," he added. "I send my deepest condolences to his family."

Malala Remembers Abe's Quest for Equality

Malala Yousafzai has said she will remember Abe for his kindness and support for equality, following the shooting that took his life.

The Pakistani activist became the world's youngest Nobel Prize laureate in 2014, aged 17, two years after a Taliban gunman tried to kill her.

"Sending my deepest condolences and prayers to Shinzo Abe's family, friends, colleagues and the Japanese people," she tweeted. "I am shocked and saddened by his assassination. I will always remember his hospitality, kindness and personal support for girls' education and equality.

Donald Trump Hopes Killer 'Dealt With Swiftly and Harshly'

Donald Trump has said Abe's death is "really bad news for the world," adding that he hoped Abe's killer will be "dealt with swiftly and harshly."

In a post on his own social platform, the former U.S. president added: "Few people know what a great man and leader Shinzo Abe was, but history will teach them and be kind.

"He was a unifier like no other, but above all, he was a man who loved and cherished his magnificent country, Japan. Shinzo Abe will be greatly missed. There will never be another like him."

Abe Shinzo with Donald Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo shake hands after signing a trade agreement in New York, September 25, 2019, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. Trump has paid tribute to Abe, following the former prime minister of Japan's death. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Joe Biden has yet to speak publicly about Abe's death. Newsweek has contacted the White House for comment.

Shinzo Abe Assassination in Pictures

Below are some key photos from Abe Shinzo's death today.

Abe Shinzo wife at hospital
(L) Akie Abe, wife of Abe Shinzo arrives at Yamato-yagi station to visit Nara Medical University Hospital where Japan’s former prime minister was transferred after being attacked during an election campaign on July 8, 2022 in Kashihara, Japan. Abe later died after being rushed to hospital by helicopter. Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty
Shinzo Abe shooting
Members of the Nara Police clean the area where the former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo was shot. Hiro Komae/AP Photo
Abe Shinzo death
A screen broadcasting the news of Japan's former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo who has been shot while campaigning in Nara, Japan on July 8, 2022 in Tokyo, Japan. Christopher Jue/Getty
Shinzo Abe media
Media fathers in front of Nara Medical University Hospital where Japan’s former prime minister Abe Shinzo is transferred after being attacked during an election campaign on July 9, 2022 in Nara, Japan. Yuichi Yamazaki

Possible Explosives Found in Suspect's Condo

Local Police have found several possible explosives in the suspect's home, according to Japan's national broadcaster.

Officers first searched the 41-year-old man's condo, located in Nara city where the shooting took place, about 5 p.m. local time (4 a.m. ET), HNK reports.

Police are questioning the suspect, named by local media as Tetsuya Yamagami.

Abe 'Worked to Bring Balance to the World': Macron

"Japan is losing a great Prime Minister," Emmanuel Macron has said.

In a tweet posted in the last hour, the French President said Abe had "dedicated his life to his country and worked to bring balance to the world."

Blinken: Abe's Assassination 'Profoundly Disturbing'

More reaction now from Anthon Blinken...

The U.S. Secretary of State called the assassination "shocking" and "profoundly disturbing."
Speaking to reporters at a G20 summit in Indonesia, Blinken called Abe a great leader.

Jacinda Ardern: 'Events Like This Shake Us All To the Core'

"Generous & kind" is how New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has remembered Abe, following news of his death.

"He was one of the first leaders I met when I became PM," she wrote on Twitter. "He was deeply committed to his role but also generous & kind. My thoughts are with his wife and the people of Japan. Events like this shake us all to the core."

Ukraine's Zelensky Laments 'Heinous Act of Violence'

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has joined other world leaders in reacting to the fatal shooting.

"This heinous act of violence has no excuse," he wrote in a tweet.

Kishida Vows Japan 'Will Never Yield to Violence'

More from Japanese Prime Minister Kishida...

Kishida has to continue with the planned upper house elections on July 10, following Abe's assassination on the campaign trail.
Abe, who was 67 years old, was giving a stump speech for Kei Sato, a fellow member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and a national election candidate.

"We need to ensure that a free and just election must carry on. We must not delay any activities in the government but do so in the most safest possible way," Kishida told a press conference.

He said Japan "will never yield to violence".

"I would ask the people of Japan to think about how they can protect the democratic process we have in Japan and together we must make efforts to protect this democratic election process," Kishida said.

Japan PM Confirms Abe's Death

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has been speaking to reporters at a news conference held in the last few minutes...

He paid tribute to Abe Shinzo, his predecessor, calling him "very warm and kind."

"He encouraged me at times, he gave his opinion on some of the matters, giving me really powerful support in many of the matters we had talked about," Kishida said.

"He was a very warm and kind person and all I can say is I'd like to express my gratitude for ex-Prime Minister Abe and my intention is to reflect on what he had wanted for Japan and try and enact that within my remit for this country. And I believe that is in alignment with what ex-Prime Minister Abe would have wanted."

Fumio Kishida holds a press conference
Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at an ealrier press conference held hours after the shooting. STR/JIJI PRESS/AFP via Getty Images

British PM Praises Abe's 'Global Leadership'

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tweeted following reports that Abe has died.

Abe's "global leadership through unchartered times will be remembered by many," Johnson said.

Gun Crime Is Extremely Rare in Japan

Gun deaths are extremely uncommon in Japan, where some of the world's strictest gun laws are in force.

Japan's gun death rate was .02 per 100,000 people in 2019, according to data analysed by World Population Review. El Salvador was highest at 36.78. The U.S. 32nd, with 3.96 deaths per 100,000 people.

In 2014, there were six reported gun deaths in Japan, according to the National Police Agency, in a country of 127 million people.

While the U.S. Constitution enshrines access to guns, Japan starts with the premise of forbidding it.

Handguns are forbidden. The only guns Japanese citizens can legally buy are shotguns and air rifles.

To do so is not straightforward; it requiring classes, a written test and scoring at least 95 percent accuracy during a shooting-range test.

Who Is Tetsuya Yamagami?

A 41-year-old man was arrested and is being interrogated by police after Abe was shot in Nara, southern Japan, on Friday morning.

Tetsuya Yamagami, a Nara resident, has been named by local media as the suspect.

Yamagami is reported to be a former member of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, Japan's equivalent of a navy. It is reported that he served for three years until 2005.

The 41-year-old suspect made a statement to the effect that he was "dissatisfied with former Prime Minister Abe and aimed to kill him," Japan's national broadcaster NHK reported.

Video footage of the shooting and photos show that the shooter appeared to be standing behind Abe during a campaign speech when he allegedly shot at him.

A witness told NHK that the shooter did not try to flee.

The suspect faces murder charges and told the police that he was dissatisfied with Abe and wanted to kill him, it reported.

UNESCO Chief 'Saddened by the Killing' of Abe

Director-General UNESCO Audrey Azoulay has also reacted to the reports.

"Deeply shocked and saddened by the killing of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in #Japan," she wrote on Twitter. "All my thoughts are with his family and loved ones. @UNESCO stands with the Japanese people."

Indian PM Narendra Modi 'Saddened Beyond Words'

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reacted to the reports Abe has died.

He wrote in a tweet that he was "saddened beyond words" at the death of "one of my dearest friends."

"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.

Breaking: Abe Shinzo Has Died, Japanese Media Reports

Abe Shinzo has died, Japanese media is now reporting.

Japan's National broadcaster NHK and daily newspaper The Nikkei broke the news in the last few minutes. We'll bring you more as we get it.

Shinzo Abe's Brother Calls Shooting 'An Attack on Democracy'

Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi, Abe Shinzo's younger brother, said in a news briefing Friday that the former prime minister was receiving a blood transfusion to try and save his life.

Kishi called the shooting "an attack on democracy."

Boris Johnson 'Utterly Appalled' by Attack on Abe

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a tweet: "Utterly appalled and saddened to hear about the despicable attack on Shinzo Abe.

"My thoughts are with his family and loved ones."

Emmanuel Macron Shocked by 'Heinous Attack'

French President Emmanuel Macron has said he was "deeply shocked by the heinous attack" on Abe.

"Our thoughts are with the family and friends of a great Prime Minister," Mr. Macron tweeeted. "France stands by the Japanese people."

Shinzo Abe Shooting: What We Know So Far

  • Shinzo Abe was shot at twice about 11.30 a.m. on Friday morning local time (9:30 p.m. ET) in the city of Nara in southern Japan
  • Abe was giving a campaign speech for a fellow Liberal Democratic Party member running as a candidate in Japan's upper house election on Sunday
  • Abe had a bullet wound on his neck, and also suffered bleeding under the left part of his chest, Japan's Fire and Disaster Management Agency said
  • It is unclear if both shots hit him
  • Video shows Abe being shot from behind before clutching his chest
  • The ex-prime minister was hit in the neck and once in the back, and is in "critical condition" at Nara Medical University hospital in Kashihara city.
  • A local fire department official told the AP that Abe's heart had stopped while being airlifted to hospital.
  • Police arrested local man Tetsuya Yamagami on a charge of attempted murder immediately after the shooting
  • A police spokesman said the suspect used "gun-like equipment"
  • A photograph of the scene indicated the gun used was handmade, with two metal cylindrical parts that seemed to be heavily bound in tape

'Shocked' White House Releases Statement

The White House has released a short statement on Abe's shooting:

"We are shocked and saddened to hear about the violent attack against former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. We are closely monitoring the reports and keeping our thoughts with his family and the people of Japan."

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said he is "deeply saddened and deeply concerned" by the shooting. "Our thoughts, our prayers are with him, with his family, with the people of Japan," he told reporters in Bali, where he is taking part in a Group of 20 meeting.