A man who is believed to be former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is carried on a stretcher as he arrives at a hospital in Kashihara, Nara Prefecture, western Japan, July 8, 2022 in this photo taken by Kyodo. Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN

According to official information, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is in a very serious condition after an attack. “I pray that former Prime Minister Abe survives,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Friday. He condemned the attack on the 67-year-old during a campaign event as a “barbaric act”. The act was “completely unforgivable” and he condemned it “strongly”.

Abe was gunned down while delivering a campaign speech in the Nara region on Friday. A suspect was arrested. Abe was taken to a hospital, but is said to no longer show any vital signs: The Kyodo news agency and the public broadcaster NHK reported that Abe apparently had a cardiac arrest.

Abe grabbed his chest when he collapsed on the street and his shirt was covered in blood, media reports said. On the way to a hospital, he was initially still conscious in the ambulance and responded to speech, it said.

A 41-year-old Japanese man was arrested at the scene for attempted murder. The man is said to have fired two shots at Abe from behind with a homemade gun. The assassin is said to be an ex-member of the country’s Self-Defense Forces. The Japanese television broadcaster NHK reported on Friday, citing sources in the Ministry of Defense.

The man is said to have fired two shots at Abe from behind with a homemade gun. The Japanese served in the country’s navy for three years until 2005, NHK reported.

According to a media report, the man shot the politician out of dissatisfaction. As the Japanese television broadcaster NHK reported on Friday, the alleged assassin is said to have said after his arrest that he was “dissatisfied” with Abe and wanted to “kill” him.

Abe’s successor, Kishida, immediately abandoned his election campaign in Yamagata Prefecture in northern Japan and headed back to Tokyo by helicopter. His government set up a crisis team. The attack happened two days before Sunday’s upper house elections. Japan is considered one of the safest countries and has some of the strictest gun laws in the world.

There were also voices of concern from the opposition about the state of right-wing conservative Abe. “Violence against political activities is absolutely unacceptable,” said a Communist Party official. He prays for Abe.

The US ambassador to Japan was also shocked. “We are all sad and shocked” that the former prime minister was shot, said Ambassador Rahm Emanuel in a statement.

“Abe-san” was a “outstanding leader of Japan and a staunch ally of the United States”. “The US government and people are praying for the well-being of Abe-san, his family and the people of Japan,” Emanuel wrote.

In an unusual move, Britain’s new finance minister, Nadhim Zahawi, announced Abe’s alleged death on Twitter on Friday morning, despite no official confirmation from Japan. A “good man” has died who pursued the goal of making the world a better place. “May he rest in everlasting peace.”

Abe ruled Japan from December 2012 to September 2020, making him the country’s longest-serving prime minister. According to critics, Japan clearly moved to the right under him. Abe is among the staunch advocates of a revision of the country’s pacifist post-war constitution.

In Article 9 of the Constitution, Japan “forever renounces war as a sovereign right of the nation, and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes.” Abe believes the constitution is not that of an independent nation, having been imposed by the occupying United States in 1946.

Economically, Abe wanted to lead Japan out of decades of deflation and stagnation with his “Abenomics” economic policy of cheap money, debt-financed economic stimulus injections and the promise of structural reforms.

Admittedly, the number three in the global economy has meanwhile experienced the longest growth phase in years under Abe. He also boosted tourism, which brought a lot of money into the country before the corona pandemic.

At the same time, however, “Abenomics” has led to the profits being distributed unequally in recent years, his critics complained. A third of workers in Japan have no permanent job.