Shinzo Abe is no more...Japan's longest serving PM has died after being shot in a violent attack!

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has passed away on Friday at the age of 67 after he was shot by a lone gunman in the Nara region while he was campaigning for his party. Besides being the longest-serving Japanese Prime Minister, Abe has also become the victim of the first assassination of a sitting or former Japanese premier since 1936. After learning about the tragic loss, several world leaders have been paying their tribute and consoling the people of Japan.

Abe has breathed his last hours after he was shot by a 41-year-old gunman. Abe was speaking at a campaign event in Nara for a parliamentary election that has been scheduled on Sunday. During his address, he was shot and collapsed on the ground after which he was airlifted to a hospital for further treatments. Abe was in critical condition as he had shown no vital signs. Despite the treatments, he failed to respond and later, he was confirmed dead. 

According to Reuters, the doctors struggled to save Abe but he died at 5.03 pm local time on Friday, about five and a half hours after being shot. A doctor, who attended the former premier, told that Abe had sustained two deep wounds, one being on the right side of his neck. As he was battling for survival, the whole world was watching the developments and several global leaders had wished him a speedy recovery. 

After the horrific attack, the campaigns were suspended and speaking before the demise of Abe, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned the shooting in the strongest terms. Kishida said, "This attack is an act of brutality that happened during the elections - the very foundation of our democracy- and is absolutely unforgivable." As Abe was a towering leader of Japan, the whole country has been in the distress and mourning his loss. 

According to Japan's national broadcaster NHK, the police have arrested a 41-year-old suspect who has been identified as Tetsuya Yamagami, a resident of Nara. He had served in Japan's military and he told the police that he was dissatisfied with Shinzo Abe and wanted to kill him. As per the visuals, Abe was making a campaign speech outside a train station when he was shot. Security officials were then seen tackling a man in a grey T-shirt and beige trousers. 

Japan has been regarded as one of the safest countries and it has robust gun laws and background checks for acquiring a gun. While Abe was getting treated, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Abe was in grave condition and had hoped Abe would survive. After the incident, Kishida and his cabinet ministers returned to Tokyo from campaign events around the country. 

As per the visuals, Abe was dressed up in a navy blue suit and raising his fist, when a gunshot was heard. After enduring the gunshot, he collapsed on the ground and his security detail had surrounded him and the officials had arrested the suspect. The weapon used for the attack has been confiscated. A young woman, who was an eye-witness, said, "He (Abe) was giving a speech and a man came from behind. The first shot sounded like a toy. He didn't fall and there was a large bang. The second shot was more visible, you could see the spark and smoke."

After the attack, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said that Abe was shot at about 11.30 am local time. He further said that such an act of barbarity cannot be tolerated. The Japanese government has said that a task force has been formed in the wake of the incident. Abe had served two terms as the Prime Minister and he had been Japan's longest-serving Prime Minister before stepping down in 2020 owing to ill health. Though he relinquished his post, Abe had remained a dominant leader in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), controlling one of its major factions. 

Abe has come to Nara to campaign for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who goes into Sunday's upper house election and after the former Prime Minister Abe was shot, Kishida has suspended the campaign. However, the government has said that there was no plan to defer the election in the midst of the stoppages of campaigns by major parties. 

Reacting to the violence, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed deep concern over Abe's health condition. Blinken, being the closest ally to Japan, said, "Our thoughts, our prayers are with him, with his family, with the people of Japan." "This is a very, very sad moment. And we're awaiting news from Japan", Blinken added. Gunshots in Japan happen once in a blue moon as the country has robust gun-control laws and annual deaths from firearms in the country of 125 million people stand in single figures. 

Abe's premiership 

Shinzo Abe became the Prime Minister for the first time in 2006 as Japan's youngest Prime Minister since World War Two. However, his first term ran with beleaguering events and he stepped down in 2007. He then became the Prime Minister for the second time in 2012 and this time, he held the office for eight years till 2020, marking a history of becoming the longest-serving Japanese Prime Minister so far. 

Abe is from a wealthy political background and his family had a foreign minister while his grandfather Nobusuke Kishi served as the Prime Minister from 1957 to 1960. Abe was first elected to parliament in 1993 after his father's death and according to Reuters, he rose to national fame by adopting a tough stance towards North Korea in a feud over Japanese citizens kidnapped by the adversary neighbour decades ago. Abe is popularly known for his Abenomics policy of aggressive monetary easing and fiscal spending.

Being a powerful politician, Abe was instrumental in winning the host for conducting the 2020 Olympics and before becoming the Prime Minister, he held the posts of Cabinet Secretary and the Leader of Opposition. Abe has won six national elections and strengthened his power. He played a vital role in enhancing Japan's defence role and capability and its security alliance with the West. During his term in office, Abe was remarkable in raising the profile of Japan on the global stage.