Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been the victim of an attack. The 67-year-old was shot during a campaign speech. His health is apparently critical.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was the victim of a gun attack and, according to media reports, suffered life-threatening injuries. The conservative politician was shot from behind by a man while speaking at a campaign event in the Nara region, Japanese media reported on Friday.

The Jiji news agency, citing circles from Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), reported that the politician then collapsed and was bleeding from the neck. The 67-year-old was taken to a hospital, but is said to no longer show any vital signs: the Kyodo news agency and the public broadcaster NHK reported that Abe had apparently suffered a cardiac arrest.

Attack on Japan’s ex-Prime Minister Abe: Alleged perpetrator was caught

A man has been arrested for attempted murder, according to NHK. A firearm was found.

The Japanese government confirmed the attack. “Former Prime Minister Abe was shot at around 11:30 a.m. in Nara,” government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters. “One man, the suspected shooter, has been arrested. Former Prime Minister Abe’s condition is currently unknown.”

“He was giving a speech and a man came up from behind,” a local woman told NHK. The attacker fired at least two shots. “After the second shot, people surrounded him (Abe) and gave him chest compressions.”

Shinzo Abe reigned record time in Japan

Abe ruled Japan from December 2012 to September 2020, making him the country’s longest-serving prime minister. Under him, Japan had moved significantly to the right. Abe is among the staunch supporters of a revision of the post-war pacifist constitution. In Article 9 of the Constitution, Japan “forever renounces war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes”.

Elections to the House of Lords will take place in Japan on Sunday. The LDP is expected to win a landslide victory. This could gain momentum in the debate about changing the constitution. The island kingdom of Japan has some of the strictest gun laws in the world and is considered one of the safest countries in the world.