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Thousands lined the streets of Tokyo to bid farewell to Shinzo Abe as he was laid to rest on Tuesday. Here are the latest details in the wake of a political assassination that has shocked the world

Nara, Japan, July 8: A Japanese flag lies at a makeshift memorial near Yamato-Saidaiji station, where former prime minister Shinzo Abe was shot earlier that day.Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images

Shinzo Abe killed: Latest updates

  • Former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, 67, was pronounced dead on Friday at a hospital in Nara, where he was speaking at a campaign stop for a candidate in parliamentary elections this weekend. An emotional Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned the killing: “We cannot accept that this violent act took place during an election, the foundation of democracy.”
  • Japan, a nation where private citizens can’t own handguns, was shocked by Mr. Abe’s assassination, the first time a sitting or former prime minister has been killed since the prewar power struggles of the 1930s. Authorities are still piecing together how the suspect, identified as Tetsuya Yamagami, obtained his apparently homemade firearm.
  • World leaders paid tribute to the late Japanese statesman, and some declared official mourning at home. President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, home of the largest Japanese population outside Japan, announced three days of national mourning; U.S. President Joe Biden said flags would be flown at half-mast through Sunday.
  • Thousands of people thronged the streets of Tokyo on Tuesday to watch a black hearse carrying Mr. Abe’s body pass by before he was laid to rest. Some mourners bowed or clasped their hands, while others shouted out thanks for his contributions to the country.


How the attack unfolded

CHINA

RUSSIA

N. KOREA

JAPAN

Pacific

Ocean

S. KOREA

Nara

Tokyo

0

400

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Saidaiji Kinrin Park

NARA

SAIDAIJI

HONMACHI

Abe shot

at here

Yamoto-Saidaiji

station

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: REUTERS; TILEZEN;

OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS

CHINA

RUSSIA

N. KOREA

JAPAN

Pacific

Ocean

S. KOREA

Tokyo

Nara

0

400

KM

Saidaiji Kinrin Park

0

150

m

NARA

SAIDAIJI

HONMACHI

Abe shot

at here

Yamoto-Saidaiji

station

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: REUTERS; TILEZEN;

OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS

CHINA

RUSSIA

NARA

JAPAN

Saidaiji Kinrin Park

Tokyo

Nara

0

400

KM

SAIDAIJI

SHINDENCHO

Abe shot

at here

Yamoto-Saidaiji

station

SAIDAIJI

KUNIMICHO

0

150

m

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: REUTERS; TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS

Former prime minister Shinzo Abe, 67, was in the western city of Nara on Friday to support Kei Sato, a fellow member of the Liberal Democratic Party who is running for re-election to the Japanese parliament’s upper house. Mr. Abe greeted a crowd at a traffic island outside Yamato Saidaiji train station before speaking. Members of Japan’s secret service, the Security Police, were with Mr. Abe, but no roads were closed and regular traffic was going past them.

At around 11:30 a.m., as Mr. Abe raised his fist to make a point, two shots rang out behind him. He collapsed and blood began to spread under his white shirt. Police’s attention quickly turned to a man behind Mr. Abe in a grey T-shirt and beige pants. Businessman Makoto Ichikawa described the scene to Reuters news agency:

There was a loud bang and then smoke. The first shot, no one knew what was going on, but after the second shot, what looked like special police tackled him.

Mr. Abe was airlifted to hospital and arrived without vital signs, according to Hidetada Fukushima, Nara Medical University’s emergency department chief. The injuries to Mr. Abe’s chest and neck caused extensive bleeding. Blood transfusions and other emergency treatment could not save his life, and he was pronounced dead at 5:03 p.m.

  • Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe makes a speech moments before being shot from behind by a man in Nara, western Japan July 8, 2022.The Asahi Shimbun/Reuters

    1 of 18

The suspect and his weapon

The suspect identified as Tetsuya Yamagami holds a makeshift weapon in Nara on July 8 as police tackle him.Nara Shimbun/Kyodo News via AP

Nara police said the 41-year-old suspect, Tetsuya Yamagami, was a resident of the city who had worked in the Maritime Self-Defence Forces for three years but now appeared to be unemployed. The suspect said he bore a grudge against a “specific organization” and believed Mr. Abe was part of it, police said, but added that his grudge was not about politics and it was not clear whether the organization actually existed.

Witnesses and police have also noted the unusual weapon, a boxy-looking double barrelled contraption covered in black tape. Gun violence is rare in Japan and firearms are heavily regulated, so a homemade weapon suggests a degree of planning on the assailant’s part. But the local office of Mr. Abe’s party said his appearance in Nara was confirmed only the night before.

For weeks before the assassination, Mr. Yamagami prepared, stockpiling homemade firearms and explosives and studying the former Japanese prime minister’s schedule. Police said they found other weapons with three, five and six barrels in Mr. Yamagami’s home, as well as rudimentary explosives.

Mr. Abe’s meetings with world leaders over the years: With G7 leaders in Germany in 2015, sitting between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping in 2019, visiting Ottawa with Justin Trudeau in 2019. Carl Court/Getty Images; Jacques Witt/AFP/Getty Images; Chris Wattie/Reuters

Who was Shinzo Abe?

The scion of an old political family, Mr. Abe was Japan’s youngest prime minister when he first took power in 2006; that term lasted only a year, but when he returned in 2012 he served for eight more years before resigning in 2020, citing ill health.

He and his Liberal Democratic Party introduced a mix of fiscal stimulus, monetary easing and structural reforms – dubbed “Abenomics” – to turn an ailing economy around. Under his leadership, Japan took an increasingly active global defence role alongside its ally, the United States. But to do this, he sought to roll back the U.S.-drafted constitution of 1947, in which a defeated Japan renounced war and limited its armed forces to self-defence only. Mr. Abe’s hawkishness, and his support for ultra-conservatives’ efforts to whitewash Japan’s Second World War-era atrocities, did not endear him to liberals at home or East Asian nations such as China or the Koreas.

Mr. Abe left office without achieving his goal of constitutional reform, nor did he get to preside over the Tokyo Olympics that he had lobbied for. But he had set a record as the longest-serving prime minister in a country that changes leaders often. In death, Mr. Abe sets another, darker precedent: The first sitting or former prime minister to be assassinated since prewar times.

He leaves a wife, Akie Abe, and no children.

Longest-serving Japanese prime ministers

Days in office

Shinzo Abe

Resigned on Sept. 16, 2020, having served total of 3,188 days – 2,822 consecutive days since start of second term

2006-2007, 2012-2020

3,188

Taro Katsura

Three terms between 1901 and 1913

2,886

Eisaku Sato

1964-1972

2,798

Ito Hirobumi

Four terms between 1885 and 1901

2,720

Shigeru Yoshida

Two terms between 1946 and 1954

2,616

Junichiro Koizumi

2001-2006

1,980

Yasuhiro Nakasone

1982-1987

1,806

Hayato Ikeda

1960-1964

1,575

Saionji Kinmochi

1906-08, 1911-12

1,531

Nobusuke Kishi

1957-1960

1,266

Key figures in Abe’s political family

Nobusuke Kishi

Mr. Abe’s maternal grandfather was PM from 1957 to 1960; an assailant stabbed him in 1960, but he survived

Eisaku Sato

Mr. Kishi’s brother was PM from 1964 to 1972, becoming Japan’s longest-serving leader until Mr. Abe

Shintaro Abe

Mr. Abe’s father was foreign minister in the 1980s and a major figure in the Liberal Democratic Party

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: GRAPHIC NEWS

Longest-serving Japanese prime ministers

Days in office

Shinzo Abe

Resigned on Sept. 16, 2020, having served total of 3,188 days – 2,822 consecutive days since start of second term

2006-2007, 2012-2020

3,188

Taro Katsura

Three terms between 1901 and 1913

2,886

Eisaku Sato

1964-1972

2,798

Ito Hirobumi

Four terms between 1885 and 1901

2,720

Shigeru Yoshida

Two terms between 1946 and 1954

2,616

Junichiro Koizumi

2001-2006

1,980

Yasuhiro Nakasone

1982-1987

1,806

Hayato Ikeda

1960-1964

1,575

Saionji Kinmochi

1906-08, 1911-12

1,531

Nobusuke Kishi

1957-1960

1,266

Key figures in Abe’s political family

Nobusuke Kishi

Mr. Abe’s maternal grandfather was PM from 1957 to 1960; an assailant stabbed him in 1960, but he survived

Eisaku Sato

Mr. Kishi’s brother was PM from 1964 to 1972, becoming Japan’s longest-serving leader until Mr. Abe

Shintaro Abe

Mr. Abe’s father was foreign minister in the 1980s and a major figure in the Liberal Democratic Party

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: GRAPHIC NEWS

Longest-serving Japanese prime ministers

Days in office

3,188

Shinzo Abe

2006-2007, 2012-2020

2,886

Taro Katsura

Three terms between 1901 and 1913

Eisaku Sato

1964-1972

2,798

Ito Hirobumi

Four terms between 1885 and 1901

2,720

Shigeru Yoshida

Two terms between 1946 and 1954

2,616

Junichiro Koizumi

2001-2006

1,980

1,806

Yasuhiro Nakasone

1982-1987

Shinzo Abe

Resigned on Sept. 16, 2020, having

served total of 3,188 days – 2,822

consecutive days since start

of second term

Hayato Ikeda

1960-1964

1,575

Saionji Kinmochi

1906-08, 1911-12

1,531

Nobusuke Kishi

1957-1960

1,266

Key figures in Abe’s political family

Nobusuke Kishi

Mr. Abe’s maternal grandfather was PM from 1957 to 1960; an assailant stabbed him in 1960, but he survived

Shintaro Abe

Mr. Abe’s father was foreign minister in the 1980s and a major figure in the Liberal Democratic Party

Eisaku Sato

Mr. Kishi’s brother was PM from 1964 to 1972, becoming Japan’s longest-serving leader until Mr. Abe

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: GRAPHIC NEWS

Global reaction so far

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau


U.S. President Joe Biden


South Korean President Yoon Sook-yeol


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi


NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg



Compiled by Globe staff

Associated Press and Reuters, with reports from James Griffiths


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