TOKYO, July 8 (Xinhua) -- Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe died after being shot Friday by a gunman during a speech in the western city of Nara when campaigning for Sunday's upper house election, local media reported.
Abe, 67, fell to the ground and was seen bleeding after he was shot from behind at 11:30 a.m. local time when he was speaking in front of Kintetsu Railway's Yamato-Saidaiji Station, local police and firefighters said.
Two shots were heard at the site and blood could be seen on Abe's shirt.
According to the disaster management agency, Abe was wounded and bleeding on the right side of his neck along with internal bleeding confirmed in the left side of his chest.
He was rushed to a nearby hospital and showed no signs of life, according to local police and emergency services.
The hospital that received Abe said at a press conference on Friday afternoon that Abe, also former leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), was conscious when admitted but then fell into unconsciousness later in the afternoon.
Police arrested gunman Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, a resident of Nara, at the scene.
Yamagami worked for the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) for three years until around 2005, Japan's public broadcaster NHK quoted defense sources as saying.
He was arrested at the site and local police retrieved what appeared to be a handmade gun from the vicinity of where the former prime minister was shot, according to government reports.
"It's not a grudge against the political beliefs of former Prime Minister Abe," the police quoted Yamagami as saying.
Abe who served as prime minister from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2012 to 2020, stepped down from his post due to a chronic intestinal disease.
On Aug. 24, 2020, Abe became Japan's longest-serving prime minister by number of consecutive days in office. ■