The assassination of one of the best-known politicians of the archipelago, which he governed for more than eight years, deeply bruised and moved Japan and abroad.
The alleged perpetrator of the attack, arrested at the scene, confessed to having deliberately targeted Mr. Abe, explaining to the police that he was angry at an organization to which he believed that he was affiliated. Some Japanese media mentioned a religious group.
The 41-year-old man, a former member of the Maritime Self-Defense Force (the Japanese Navy) according to local media, has according to the police used a weapon “of homemade appearance”, on which further analysis was in progress .
At the time of the attack, Mr Abe was campaigning in Nara (west) for Sunday’s senatorial poll, and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced on Friday that preparations for the elections, “the foundation of democracy”, would continue as normal .
Mr. Kishida, a member like Shinzo Abe of the Liberal Democratic Party (PLD, nationalist right), participated Saturday morning in a campaign rally in Yamanashi (west of Tokyo) in front of 600 people, declaring according to the daily Mainichi that “violence does not can outweigh the spoken word”.
“We are not going to let what happened yesterday happen again”, launched a member of the security quoted by the daily, who described a reinforced protection device, with the installation of metal detectors and search of the bags of the spectators .
The body of Shinzo Abe arrived at his home in Tokyo early Saturday afternoon, aboard a hearse in which Akie, his wife, had taken place, and which had left Kashihara hospital at dawn. , near Nara, where the former Prime Minister had been taken care of after his attack.
Hit by two bullets in the neck, Mr. Abe was declared dead a few hours later, despite the efforts of a team of twenty doctors.
According to local media, a wake is scheduled for Monday evening and the funeral will take place on Tuesday, with only the family and relatives of Mr Abe in attendance.
– “Barbaric act” –
The death of Shinzo Abe has upset Japan, where Mr. Kishida, of whom he was the mentor, denounced a “barbaric act” and “unforgivable”.
The assassination was condemned around the world, with US President Joe Biden saying he was “stunned, shocked and deeply saddened” and French leader Emmanuel Macron paying tribute to “a great Prime Minister, who dedicated his life to his country and worked to the balance of the world”.
China and South Korea, with which Japan has often rocky relations, also expressed their condolences. Chinese President Xi Jinping said he was “deeply saddened by this sudden death”.
In Australia, the Sydney Opera House will be illuminated on Sunday in tribute to Shinzo Abe.
Many people had been gathering since Friday at the scene of the attack. “I couldn’t sit idly by,” Sachie Nagafuji, 54, told AFP, who came with her son to lay flowers, adding: “I really respected him and trusted him as a man. Politics”.
Shinzo Abe, heir to a political dynasty, holds the record for longevity as Prime Minister of Japan, which he held in 2006-2007 and then again from 2012 to 2020.
Both nationalist and pragmatic, he made an impression with his audacious economic policy dubbed “Abenomics”, combining massive fiscal stimulus with an ultra-accommodating monetary policy.
Mr. Abe also advocated a Japan free from its militaristic past, and dreamed of revising the pacifist Japanese Constitution of 1947, written by the American occupiers and never amended since.
He had been forced to resign for health reasons, but had remained very influential within the PLD which he had led.
– Strict weapon regulations –
Local PLD officials said they had received no threat before the attack, the images of which were looped on television channels.
We see the former head of government standing on a podium, when a loud bang rang out, followed by the release of smoke. The spectators, surprised, bend down, and we see several people tackle another on the ground.
“The first shot sounded like a toy,” a young woman told public broadcaster NHK. Shinzo Abe “did not fall and there was a big bang. The second shot was more visible, you could see a spark and smoke,” she added. After the second shot, people surrounded the fallen victim “and gave him a heart massage”.
A security service was present, but it was easy for spectators to approach Mr. Abe.
Japan has one of the strictest gun control laws in the world and the number of people killed by gunfire is extremely low.