Former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe Hospitalized after Shooting

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been hospitalized after being shot at a political rally in Tokyo on Friday. The shooting occurred as Abe, who served as Prime Minister from 2012 to 2020, was addressing supporters from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Abe was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital where he underwent surgery for a gunshot wound to the abdomen. According to reports, his condition is stable and he is expected to make a full recovery.

The shooter has been identified as 70-year-old Tomohiro Kato, who was apprehended by police shortly after the incident. Kato is a resident of Tokyo and has no known connection to Abe or the ruling party.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga called the shooting “an unforgivable act of violence” and pledged to “do everything possible to bring the perpetrator to justice.”

Political Consequences

The shooting has sparked concerns about political violence in Japan, which is generally considered to be one of the safest countries in the world. The country has a low rate of gun ownership and strict gun control laws.

Despite the rarity of political violence in Japan, tensions have been high in recent months due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a struggling economy. Abe’s successor, Prime Minister Suga, has faced criticism for his handling of the pandemic and his government’s economic policies.

There is no indication at this time that the shooting was politically motivated, but the incident is likely to have an impact on the upcoming election for the lower house of Japan’s parliament, which is scheduled for later this year.

International Reaction

Leaders from around the world have expressed their solidarity with Abe and condemned the shooting. U.S. President Joe Biden called the incident “a shocking attack on one of our closest allies and friends.”

The Prime Minister of Japan’s neighbor, South Korea, also issued a statement condemning the shooting and expressing sympathy for Abe and his family.

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “Shocked to hear about the cowardly attack on Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. My thoughts are with him and his family.”
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted: “My thoughts are with former PM Abe and the Japanese people after the terrible news of today’s senseless shooting.”
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson released a statement saying: “I condemn the appalling attack on former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Violence has no place in politics and everyone should be able to campaign freely and peacefully.”

The investigation into the shooting is ongoing, and authorities have not yet released a motive for the attack.