Former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe’s Dies While Giving Speech

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Courtesy of Anthony Quintano (Flickr CC0)

On Friday, Shinzo Abe, 67, Japan’s previous prime minister, was shot dead in Nara. A medical aircraft rushed Abe to a hospital at 12:20 local time suffering from cardiac arrest. At 5:03 pm local time, Abe died from excessive bleeding due to a bullet that went deep enough to reach his heart, according to a Nara Medical University Hospital source.

The Assassination

During Abe’s speech, his security personnel and the Tokyo police officers were on the lookout from all angles. Several dozen plainclothes police officers were reportedly on hand, including one specially assigned from Tokyo’s police force and Nara prefectural police.

The Nara police confirmed the gunman’s identity as a resident, 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami. He was apprehended moments after the shooting and was charged with murder. According to reliable sources, Yamagami allegedly planned the assassination for months and test-fired the homemade gun in preparation for the murder.

Nara Police authorities admitted that the security was flawed because the assassin passed the security unobstructed.

A Shocking Act of Violence

This act of violence happened in a country with the lowest gun rate. The country’s restrictive firearm laws discourage citizens from owning private guns.

Only shotguns and air rifles are authorized for sale in Japan — handguns are forbidden. However, obtaining them is a demanding process that requires considerable effort and patience. 

When U.S. President Joe Biden spoke to CIA employees in Virginia on Friday, he referred to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as a friend. He said he is confident in Japan’s strong democratic government.

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Courtesy of hjms (Flickr CC0)

Biden said he’s sure that Japan’s democracy will stand the test of Abe’s death, which is expected before the elections. NHK stated that the security plan for Abe, while he was in the city, was created by the Nara prefecture police.

When Abe was 38, he served in a few cabinet positions in Japan’s House of Representatives until the 2000s.  In 2003, he was secretary-general of the LDP, and four years later, a prime minister and party president. As party president from 2007 to 2012, Abe was plagued by controversies, and in 2011 he left office as prime minister and party leader. 

In 2020, he announced that he was suffering from ill health, and he stepped down the following year but continued to be an influential leader even after leaving office.

He retained the control of the Liberal Democratic Party and has persisted in advocating for a more robust security policy. Taiwan, in the past, angered China by asking for a more substantial commitment from allies to preserve democracy.

In 2015, Abe’s government reinterpreted Japan’s post-war pacifist constitution in a way that permitted Japanese soldiers to participate in overseas combat for the first time since World War II.

Abe advocated for the change to address a more challenging security environment, in which China is more assertive and North Korea is frequent missile testing. In 2018, Abe had a historic telephone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

On Monday, his widow Akie Abe hosted the funeral ceremony at a temple in Tokyo. Abe’s body was put to rest on Tuesday.

Written by Janet Grace Ortigas

Sources:

CNN: Former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe shot dead; byJessie Yeung, Rhea Mogul, Helen Regan, Rob Picheta, Amy Woodyatt, Ed Upright, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt and Elise Hammond
CNN: Who was Shinzo Abe, the former Japanese Prime Minister?
REUTERS: Shinzo Abe’s assassin used a handmade firearm; by Satoshi Sugiyama and Chang-Ran Kim

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Anthony Quintano‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of hjms‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

Former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe’s Dies While Giving Speech added by Janet Grace Ortigas on July 14, 2022
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