Tetsuya Yamagani, a 41-year old former Maritime Self-Defense Force member, allegedly used a homemade gun to kill Abe.
NARA, Japan, July 8 (Reuters) – Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the longest-serving leader of modern Japan, was gunned down on Friday while campaigning for a parliamentary election, shocking a country where guns are tightly controlled and political violence almost unthinkable.
Abe, 67, was pronounced dead around five and a half hours after the shooting in the city of Nara. Police arrested a 41-year-old man and said the weapon was a homemade gun.
"I am simply speechless over the news of Abe's death," Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Abe's protege, told reporters.
Earlier, as Abe still lay in hospital where doctors tried to revive him, Kishida struggled to keep his emotions in check.
"This attack is an act of brutality that happened during the elections – the very foundation of our democracy – and is absolutely unforgivable," he said.
Abe had been making a campaign speech outside a train station when two shots rang out. Security officials were then seen tackling a man in a grey T-shirt and beige trousers.