Before fatal shooting, Japan’s Abe was up close with the crowd


NARA, Japan (Reuters) – Moments earlier than he was fatally shot from behind on Friday, Japanese former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was doing what he’d finished for many years in politics: getting up close to the crowds and stumping for an area candidate.

As is typical in Japan, the place violent crime is uncommon and weapons are scarce, safety seemed to be gentle on Friday morning as Abe spoke at an intersection exterior the Yamato-Saidaiji Station in the western metropolis of Nara.

Roads weren’t blocked off and a bus and a van handed behind Abe’s uncovered again as he spoke to the crowd of some hundred. Two helmeted riders on scooters turned in entrance of him. Inside a passing hatchback automotive, somebody waved in excited recognition at Japan’s longest-serving premier.

This account relies on footage obtained by Reuters and interviews with witnesses.

Dressed in a darkish jacket regardless of the summer season warmth, Abe known as on the crowd, lots of them older, to re-elect Kei Sato, a candidate in Sunday’s higher home election. Some snapped photos with their telephone or mopped their brows in the humidity.

Members of the particular police, Japan’s equal of the secret service, seemed to be standing at his proper and behind him as the two-time prime minister informed the crowd of Sato’s pandemic response.

“He was the sort of one that did not search for causes to not do one thing,” Abe recalled.

Behind him, a thin man wearing a gray t-shirt and beige cargo pants strode into the highway and opened hearth with what police later stated was a home made gun, sending a cloud of white smoke in direction of Abe and the crowd.

For a second, Abe appeared unaffected. The man, recognized as Tetsuya Yamagami, a 41-year-old former member of Japan’s maritime self-defence forces – the equal of Japan’s navy – fired once more.

Yamagami “got here out of nowhere on to the center of the highway holding a gun”, stated businessman Makoto Ichikawa, who had been close to the prepare station ready for his spouse.

“The first shot nobody knew what was happening,” Ichikawa stated. After the second shot, Yamagami was tackled by the particular police who pinned him down on the floor. His shirt rode up, exposing a black belt with a silver buckle. Like most individuals in the crowd, he wore a masks.

There was a pause of 10-20 seconds earlier than Yamagami was tackled, stated Takenobu Nakajima, who runs a printing firm and was at the station to help the LDP.

By then, Abe, 67, lay crumpled on the floor. Footage from media confirmed blood staining his crisp white shirt.

Ken Namikawa, the mayor of Nara’s Tenri metropolis, known as out over a microphone asking if there have been any medical doctors or nurses in the crowd. A nurse got here working and joined the crowd of individuals attending to Abe.

At least one individual administered coronary heart therapeutic massage.

Doctors later stated Abe bled to dying from deep wounds to the coronary heart and the proper aspect of his neck, regardless of receiving greater than 100 models of blood in transfusions over 4 hours.

Ichikawa stated he was struck by Yamagami’s face as he fired at the former premier.

“It was only a regular expression,” he stated.

(Reporting by Satoshi Sugiyama; Additional reporting by Sakura Murakami and Reuters Tokyo bureau; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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