According to media reports, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was fatally injured in an assassination attempt. A man shot Abe from behind during a campaign speech in the old imperial city of Nara in broad daylight, Japanese media reported on Friday, citing Abe’s ruling LDP party.

Shinzo Abe, ex-Japanese prime minister, was shot twice during a campaign speech in the old imperial city of Nara. The Jiji news agency reported, citing party circles, that Abe bled from the neck and collapsed.

The 67-year-old should no longer show any vital signs: NHK reported, citing the fire department, that Abe apparently had a cardiovascular arrest. He was then taken to a hospital by helicopter. There are fears that Abe might not survive the attack.

The perpetrator was arrested at the scene by the police for attempted murder, it said.

Abe ruled Japan from December 2012 to September 2020, making him the country’s longest-serving prime minister. Under him, Japan had moved significantly to the right. Abe is among the staunch supporters of a revision of the post-war pacifist constitution. In Article 9 of the Constitution, Japan “forever renounces war as a sovereign right of the nation, and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes.”

Elections to the House of Lords will take place in Japan on Sunday. The LDP is expected to win a landslide victory. This could gain momentum in the debate about changing the constitution. The island kingdom of Japan has some of the strictest gun laws in the world and is considered one of the safest countries in the world.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has called off his election campaign after the assassination attempt on his predecessor Shinzo Abe. Kishida immediately made his way back to his government seat in Tokyo from the northern prefecture of Yamagata on Friday, Japanese media reported. His government set up a crisis team. The opposition also voiced concern about the state of the right-wing conservative.

“Violence against political activities is absolutely unacceptable,” said a Communist Party official. He prays for Abe. Japan’s government is in crisis mode. It is still in the process of confirming the 67-year-old’s condition, government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno said on Friday.

The US ambassador to Japan was also shocked. “We are all sad and shocked” that the former prime minister was shot, said Ambassador Rahm Emanuel in a statement. “Abe-san” was a “outstanding leader of Japan and a staunch ally of the United States”. “The US government and people are praying for the well-being of Abe-san, his family and the people of Japan,” Emanuel wrote.