Former Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been confirmed dead after suffering gunshot wounds and being rushed to the hospital.
Ex-Prime Minister Abe was shot dead in the city of Nora while delivering a campaign speech.
A man believed in his early 40s, Tetsuya Yamagami, was arrested at the scene as the prime suspect.
Tetsuya Yamagami is said to have a record with the police of having threatened to kill Abe, 67, because he has been dissatisfied with his government.
Abe remains the longest-serving Japanese premiere after stepping down in 2020.
Current PM Fumio Kishida condemned the shooting and said he was “lost for words”.
“I have great respect for the legacy Shinzo Abe left behind and I pay the deepest condolences to him,” Kishida said in an broadcast to the nation.
Abe was delivering his campaign speech ahead of Sunday’s Upper House elections.
PM Kishida said Friday’s incident should not stop campaigning for long.
“We must ensure a free and fair election is conducted safely and we must not let this incident impact daily governance.
“Under the resolve to never give in to violence, we will continue election campaigning tomorrow.”
World leaders’ tribute
In a short statement, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson paid tribute to Abe and said that the UK stands with the Japanese people at a “dark and sad time”.
South Korean president Yoon Suk-yeol expressed his condolences to Japan, describing the shooting of Abe as an “unforgiveable act of crime”.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he was “deeply saddened and stunned”, adding that Germany will “stand closely by Japan’s side in these difficult hours”.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis described Abe as a “strong defender of democracy and multilateralism and also a true friend”.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Abe a “dear friend”, adding: “I condemn those who carried out this heinous attack”.
Pieced together by Emmanuel Kwame Amoh from international news sources