Police officers investigate the scene where Japan s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot during an election campaign in the city of Nara, western Japan on July 8, 2022. PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxJPN , aflo_192953421.jpg,

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is in a “very serious condition” after an attack, officials said. “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”.

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. Japan is considered one of the safest countries and has some of the strictest gun laws in the world.

Abe ruled Japan from December 2012 until his resignation in September 2020, but he remains a key figure in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). On Sunday, his party friend Kishida has to face the election in the Japanese upper house. The LDP is expected to win a landslide victory. The government said there were no plans to postpone the election.

Kishida immediately abandoned his election campaign in northern Japan’s Yamagata Prefecture and headed back to Tokyo by helicopter. His government set up a crisis team.

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.

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) was also shocked. “I am shocked to hear the news that Shinzo Abe was shot. My thoughts are with him and his family,” Baerbock wrote in English on Twitter on Friday.

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 was the country’s longest-serving prime minister. According to critics, Japan clearly moved to the right under him. He is one of 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.

Against the backdrop of the Ukraine war and China’s growing influence in the region, the government has expressed increasing national security concerns. Kishida has promised to increase defense spending “significantly” without implying exactly what that means.

In its election manifesto, Kishida’s LDP called for defense spending to be doubled to two percent of GDP. Kishida recently became the first Japanese head of government to attend the NATO summit.

An amendment to Article 9 of the Constitution has long been a concern of Conservatives, who see the US-drafted document as outdated. Article 9 stipulates that only defensive forces can be deployed.

The Japanese public has traditionally been reticent when it comes to change. However, the crisis in Ukraine has strengthened support for a more robust defense. Kishida – who comes from Hiroshima – had previously expressed reservations, but has now become a supporter: parts of the constitution are “outdated and insufficient”. This has not been changed since 1947.

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.