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Tributes to Shinzo Abe as former Japanese prime minister shot dead

Shinzo Abe

Tributes to Shinzo Abe as former Japanese prime minister shot dead

Tributes are being paid around the world to former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe after he was shot at a political campaign event.

Abe died in hospital from wounds sustained while he was giving a speech in the southern city of Nara this morning.

A 41-year-old suspect, identified as local man Tetsuya Yamagami, is in police custody and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has called the attacked "barbaric and malicious".

Abe was the longest-serving Japanese prime minister and was a member of the Liberal Democratic Party. He held office in 2006 and again from 2012-20, stepping down then for health reasons.

He suffered injuries to his neck and chest and underwent a blood transfusion in hospital as medics attempted to save him.

The 67-year-old was delivering a speech for a local candidate when the incident happened.

Japanese media reports say Yamagami is believed to be a former member of the Maritime Self-Defence Force.

Witnesses report seeing a man carrying a large gun and firing on Abe from behind.

Upper house elections in Japan are scheduled for later this week. Ministers have now been told to return to Tokyo.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted that she was "shocked and deeply saddened by this terrible news", adding that her condolences and those of the Scottish Government "are with Shinzo Abe's family and the people of Japan".

Outgoing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the news "incredibly sad" and said Abe's "global leadership through uncharted times will be remembered by many".

He said: "My thoughts are with his family, friends and the Japanese people. The UK stands with you at this dark and sad time."

Indian premier Narendra Modi said he is "shocked and saddened beyond words at the tragic demise 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."

Australian leader Anthony Albanese called Abe "a great friend and ally to Australia" and sent his "deepest sympathies to his family and the people of Japan", saying: "We mourn with you."

Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt called the murder a "horrible attack on democracy", saying: "A massive figure of Japanese and Asian politics slain. Abe's strategic foresight and ambition will long be remembered."

 

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