July 9, 2022 Shinzo Abe assassination news

By Rhea Mogul, Helen Regan, Amy Woodyatt, Adrienne Vogt and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

Updated 1957 GMT (0357 HKT) July 9, 2022
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12:37 a.m. ET, July 9, 2022

Man suspected of killing Shinzo Abe made multiple types of guns with iron pipes, NHK reports

From CNN’s Mayumi Maruyama

The suspect in the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the weapon he used was homemade, Nara Nishi police told a news conference on Friday. 

Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, admitted to shooting Abe, police said. Yamagami, who is unemployed, told investigators he holds hatred toward a certain group that he thought Abe was linked to. Police have not named the group.

The weapon was a gun-like item that measured 40 centimeters (about 16 inches) long and 20 centimeters wide, police said.

Yamagami made multiple types of guns with iron pipes that were wrapped in adhesive tape, Japan's public broadcaster NHK reported, citing the police. The police found guns with three, five, and six iron pipes as barrels.

The suspect inserted bullets in the pipe, which he had bought parts for online, police said, according to NHK. Police believe the suspect used the strongest weapon he made in the assassination, NHK added. 

Abe was fatally shot while making a campaign speech in the streets of Nara prefecture on Friday morning. His death has shocked Japan, a nation with one of the lowest rates of gun crime in the world.

12:24 a.m. ET, July 9, 2022

Japanese officials to discuss funeral arrangements for assassinated former leader Shinzo Abe

From CNN's Helen Regan, Emiko Jozuka and Mayumi Maruyama

Japanese officials will soon begin discussing funeral arrangements for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated in a daylight shooting on Friday, sending a nation unaccustomed to gun violence into a state of shock and anger.

On Saturday, the morning after the fatal shooting in a street in central Japan's Nara, a car believed to be carrying the former world leader's body left the Nara Medical University Hospital, where Abe had received treatment, according to Japan's public broadcaster NHK.

His widow, Akie Abe, is traveling with her husband's body back to Tokyo, where the family resides, before discussing funeral arrangements, Abe's office told CNN.

In the wake of the killing, tearful mourners gathered to place flowers and kneel at a makeshift memorial outside the Yamato-Saidaiji Station in Nara, close to where Abe was assassinated.

That a former prime minster could be shot dead at close range while giving a speech in broad daylight in a country with one of the world's lowest rates of gun crime has reverberated around Japan and the world. Presidents, prime ministers and other international leaders sent tributes expressing outrage and sadness over the killing.

Abe, 67, was pronounced dead at at 5:03 p.m. local time on Friday, just over five hours after being shot while delivering a campaign speech in front of a small crowd on a street.

At the time of the shooting, Abe was speaking in support of ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) candidates ahead of Upper House elections on Sunday, which are still scheduled to go ahead. Despite resigning as Japan's prime minister in 2020 due to health reasons, Abe remained an influential figure in the country's political landscape and continued to campaign for the LDP.

Japan's "JFK moment": Abe was Japan's longest-serving prime minister who defined the country's politics for a generation.

He will be remembered for boosting defense spending, pushing through the most dramatic shift in Japanese military policy in 70 years, and his grand experiment designed to jolt Japan's economy out of decades of stagnation, known as "Abenomics."

Tomohiko Taniguchi, a former special adviser to Abe, said the former prime minister was "one of the most transformative leaders" of Japan and described his killing as the equivalent to the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy.

"I think it's going to be an equivalent of JFK's assassination day ... It's been a day of sadness, grief, disbelief, and for me, tremendous anger. People are finding it very much hard to digest the reality," Taniguchi said on Friday.

Read more here.

12:21 a.m. ET, July 9, 2022

Hundreds gather in Tokyo to catch a glimpse of car carrying Abe's body

From CNN's Emiko Jozuka in Tokyo

People gather near the Abe family residence in Tokyo on Saturday.
People gather near the Abe family residence in Tokyo on Saturday. (Emiko Jozuka/CNN)

Hundreds of people have gathered in the streets of Tokyo, close to the Abe family home, hoping to catch a glimpse of the car transporting the body of former prime minister Shinzo Abe to the capital. 

People of all ages told CNN they felt disbelief at Abe's assassination and were saddened by the former leader's death.

"It's so sudden that what happened to Abe still hasn’t sunk in for me yet," Ryogo Uto, 18," said. "Abe was a respected leader who did many things for Japan while he was in power."  

Police officers stand guard near the Abe family home in Tokyo on Saturday.
Police officers stand guard near the Abe family home in Tokyo on Saturday. (Emi Jozuka/CNN)

Another bystander, surnamed Tanimura and who didn’t want to disclose his first name for privacy reasons, told CNN he often saw Abe around the area and wanted to pay his respects.

“I don’t agree with all of Abe’s political stances but he should still be able to express his view without being met with violence,” he said.
12:05 a.m. ET, July 9, 2022

Melbourne to be "lit up" on Saturday in honor of Shinzo Abe

The Australian city of Melbourne will be "lit up" on Saturday night to honor the life of former Japanese leader Shinzo Abe following his assassination.

"Major landmarks in the city will be red and white to remember the life of Japan’s longest serving Prime Minister," Dan Andrews, premier of the state of Victoria, of which Melbourne is the capital, wrote on Twitter Saturday.

In a Twitter post on Friday, Andrews said Abe "served his country with great honour and transformed the geopolitics of our region."

"He was a wonderful friend of Australia and my thoughts and prayers are with his wife, his family, and the Japanese people," Andrews wrote.

Governments around the world have announced their national flags will fly at half-staff in honor of Abe, who was fatally shot in broad daylight in Nara on Friday.

12:21 a.m. ET, July 9, 2022

Flags fly at half-staff around the world to mourn Abe's death

The Japanese flag is flown at half staff at the Japanese Embassy in Beijing on July 9.
The Japanese flag is flown at half staff at the Japanese Embassy in Beijing on July 9.

Governments around the world have announced their national flags will fly at half-staff in honor of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was fatally shot in broad daylight in Nara on Friday.

American flags were lowered in front of the Japanese Mission to the UN in New York on July 8.
American flags were lowered in front of the Japanese Mission to the UN in New York on July 8.

United States: President Joe Biden on Friday ordered the nation's flag to be lowered to half-staff, writing in a presidential proclamation that Abe "was a proud servant of the Japanese people and a faithful friend to the United States."

“He worked with American Presidents of both parties to deepen the Alliance between our nations and advance a common vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Biden wrote Friday. “Even in the moment he was attacked and killed, he was engaged in the work of democracy, to which he dedicated his life.”

India: Flags will be flown at half-staff on "all buildings where the national flag is flown regularly," a statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also announced a day of national mourning will be observed Saturday as a mark of India's "deepest respect" to Abe.

In a tribute to Japan's former leader, titled "My friend, Abe San," Modi called Abe an "outstanding leader of Japan" and "a towering global statesman."

Taiwan: Flags will be flown at half-staff on July 11, government spokesperson Chang Tun-han said in a statement Saturday.

Chang said Abe "had always supported Taiwan greatly."

"We believe that Taiwan people have gratitude in their hearts to this," the statement said.

11:51 p.m. ET, July 8, 2022

Mourners leave flowers for Abe at a makeshift memorial near where he was shot

People pray at a makeshift memorial on Saturday near the scene where Shinzo Abe was shot.
People pray at a makeshift memorial on Saturday near the scene where Shinzo Abe was shot. (Kyodo News via AP)

Japanese people have been paying tribute to former leader Shinzo Abe near the scene where he was shot on Friday as the country reels from the shock of the former leader's assassination.

In the wake of the killing, tearful mourners gathered to place flowers and kneel at a makeshift memorial outside the Yamato-Saidaiji Station in Nara, close to where Abe was assassinated.

Dozens of people, some with their children, queued on Saturday with bouquets and prayed at the makeshift memorial.

People line up to offer flowers and pray at the makeshift memorial near the scene on Saturday.
People line up to offer flowers and pray at the makeshift memorial near the scene on Saturday. (Issei Kato/Reuters)

That a former prime minster could be shot dead at close range while giving a speech in broad daylight in a country with one of the world's lowest rates of gun crime has reverberated around Japan and the world. Presidents, prime ministers and other international leaders sent tributes expressing outrage and sadness over the killing.

Mourners fill the street at the memorial site.
Mourners fill the street at the memorial site. (Kyodo News/AP)

Abe, 67, was pronounced dead at at 5:03 p.m. local time on Friday, just over five hours after being shot while delivering a campaign speech in front of a small crowd on a street.

At the time of the shooting, Abe was speaking in support of ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) candidates ahead of Upper House elections on Sunday, which are still scheduled to go ahead. Despite resigning as Japan's prime minister in 2020 due to health reasons, Abe remained an influential figure in the country's political landscape and continued to campaign for the LDP.

11:22 p.m. ET, July 8, 2022

Shinzo Abe had a vision for "a free and open Indo-Pacific"

From CNN's Brad Lendon in Seoul, South Korea

"A free and open Indo-Pacific."

The term has become the mantra of the United States military and its Indo-Pacific Command, which oversees US forces involved in an area that encompasses 36 nations that are home to more than 50% of the world's population, according to the command.

If US warships, warplanes or troops are operating in the region, their presence is almost always announced with a reference to Washington's commitment to "a free and open Indo-Pacific."

But the term comes not from the halls of the Pentagon but from Shinzo Abe, the former Japanese Prime Minister who was assassinated on Friday.

According to Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abe announced his vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific when giving a speech at a development conference in Kenya in 2016.

At the conference, Abe listed "three pillars" of the vision:

  1. Promotion and establishment of the rule of law, freedom of navigation, free trade, etc.
  2. Pursuit of economic prosperity;
  3. Commitment for peace and stability.

In a speech to Japan’s parliament in 2018, Abe said this about the strategy:

“A vast expanse of sea stretches from the Pacific Ocean to the Indian Ocean. Since ancient times the people of this region have enjoyed affluence and prosperity from this large and free body of water. Freedom of navigation and the rule of law form their bedrock. We must ensure that these waters are a public good that brings peace and prosperity to all people without discrimination into the future. To this end we will promote the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy.”
9:54 p.m. ET, July 8, 2022

A crowd of reporters has gathered outside the Abe family's home

From CNN's Emiko Jozuka in Tokyo

Journalists gather outside the Abe family residence in Tokyo on Saturday.
Journalists gather outside the Abe family residence in Tokyo on Saturday. (Emiko Jozuka/CNN)

Dozens of reporters thronged the street outside the home of former Japanese leader Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on Saturday, one day after his assassination shocked the nation.

Members of the press outnumbered uniformed police officers as they waited for Abe's body to arrive in the capital.

Abe's body is due to arrive in Tokyo mid-afternoon Saturday, his office told CNN.

Abe's widow, Akie Abe, is traveling with his body to Japan's capital. Funeral arrangements are expected to be discussed upon arrival, according to Abe's office.

Takashi Uchida stands outside the Abe family residence in Tokyo on Saturday.
Takashi Uchida stands outside the Abe family residence in Tokyo on Saturday. (Emiko Jozuka/CNN)

Abe's shooting in broad daylight has brought Japan's strict firearms laws into focus, in a country with one of the world's lowest rates of gun violence.

Takashi Uchida, 57, who was passing by Abe's home, said he was shocked when he heard of Abe's shooting on Friday.

"I didn’t expect something like this would happen to someone who was the leader of Japan for such a long time — it’s usually so safe here and we don’t have gun crime," he said.
10:32 p.m. ET, July 8, 2022

Abe's body is expected to arrive in Tokyo on Saturday afternoon, his office says

From CNN's Mayumi Maruyama

The car believed to carry the body of Japan's late former prime minister Shinzo Abe passes by policemen and media outside the Nara Medical University Hospital in Kashihara, Nara Prefecture early on July 9.
The car believed to carry the body of Japan's late former prime minister Shinzo Abe passes by policemen and media outside the Nara Medical University Hospital in Kashihara, Nara Prefecture early on July 9. (Philip Fong/AFP/Getty Images)

The body of former Japanese leader Shinzo Abe is due to arrive in Tokyo mid-afternoon Saturday, his office told CNN.

Abe's widow, Akie Abe, is traveling with his body to Japan's capital, where the family resides. Funeral arrangements are expected to be discussed upon arrival, according to Abe's office.

Earlier Saturday, Akie Abe was seen in a car leaving the Nara Medical University Hospital in Nara prefecture where the former Prime Minister was pronounced dead on Friday.

Abe died after being shot on the street in Nara as he delivered a campaign speech — a shocking act of violence in a country with one of the world's lowest rates of gun crime.