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
20 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
2:22 a.m. ET, July 9, 2022

Shinzo Abe was shot while on the campaign trail. Those elections will still go ahead on Sunday

Japanese voters will go to the polls on Sunday despite the assassination of former leader Shinzo Abe just two days before elections were due to be held.

Abe was gunned down in broad daylight while delivering a campaign speech in the city of Nara on Friday before he was later pronounced dead in the hospital. His death has shocked and angered Japan, a nation unaccustomed to gun violence.

  • What are the elections for? The electorate will be voting for lawmakers to sit in the upper house of the Diet — Japan's parliament. There are 125 seats up for grabs, according to public broadcaster NHK. The upper house is the less powerful of the two chambers of parliament. Members of the upper house approve legislation, but it can be overridden by the lower house. Members of the 245-seat upper house serve a six-year term, with an election for roughly half the seats every three years.
  • What was Abe doing in Nara? At the time of the shooting, Abe was speaking in support of ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) candidates ahead of the election. 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.
  • What has Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said? Kishida said he will continue campaigning on Saturday for the elections, adding that a free and fair vote must be defended at all costs. Speaking on Friday, he paid his "deepest condolences" to Abe, saying he "was a personal friend, with whom I spent a lot of time."
  • How is Japan preparing for the elections? Cities across the country of 125 million were gearing up for the vote on Saturday, NHK reported. Video broadcast on NHK showed campaign workers setting up polling stations and organizing venues. There will be 46,000 polling stations across Japan with voting expected to open at 7 a.m. local time on Sunday, NHK reported.
1:37 a.m. ET, July 9, 2022

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida arrives at Abe family home, Kyodo News reports

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has arrived at the home of slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, according to Japan’s Kyodo News agency.

Abe's body arrived at his residence in the Japanese capital earlier on Saturday, according to CNN staff on the ground.

Abe's widow, Akie Abe, was traveling with his body to Japan's capital, where funeral arrangements will now be discussed, Abe's office told CNN earlier.

Dozens of reporters outnumbered uniformed police officers as they waited outside the Abe family's home for his body to arrive.

1:11 a.m. ET, July 9, 2022

Who is Tetsuya Yamagami? What we know about the man suspected of shooting Shinzo Abe

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

Security personnel detain Tetsuya Yamagami near the site where Shinzo Abe was shot in Nara, Japan, on July 8.
Security personnel detain Tetsuya Yamagami near the site where Shinzo Abe was shot in Nara, Japan, on July 8. (Asahi Shimbun/AFP/Getty Images)

Police have launched a murder investigation into the assassination of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe — but little is known about the suspect who was arrested at the scene of the fatal shooting on Friday.

Who is the suspect: Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, admitted to shooting Abe, Nara Nishi police said during a news conference on Friday. 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.

What kind of gun was fired: The suspect used a homemade gun in the shooting, police said, and images from the scene showed what appeared to be a weapon with two cylindrical metal barrels wrapped in black tape. Authorities later confiscated several handmade pistol-like items from the suspect's apartment.

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. 

Security probe: Japan's National Police Agency said it will review security arrangements put in place before Friday's shooting, according to NHK. Security was being handled by Nara prefectural police, which drew up a security plan for the former prime minister while he was in the city.

The agency said several dozen officers and security personnel from the Tokyo Metropolitan police were on duty and had reportedly watched Abe from all sides during his speech, NHK said.

12:53 a.m. ET, July 9, 2022

Chinese leader Xi Jinping sends message of condolences to Japan's Fumio Kishida

From CNN's Yong Xiong

Chinese leader Xi Jinping sent a condolence message to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida over the killing of former leader Shinzo Abe, state media reported Saturday.

Xi noted that Abe made efforts to promote the improvement of China-Japan relations during his time in office and made positive contributions, CCTV said.

Xi said he was deeply saddened by Abe's death and is willing to work with Kishida to continue to develop China-Japan relations, according to CCTV.

Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, also sent a message of condolences to Abe's widow, Akie Abe, CCTV said. 

Xi met with Abe in Beijing in December 2019, and planed a state visit to Japan in the Spring the following year, but had to cancel the visit because of the coronavirus outbreak.

12:54 a.m. ET, July 9, 2022

Former Japanese leader Shinzo Abe's body arrives in Tokyo

From CNN's Emiko Jozuka in Tokyo

A car transporting the body of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe arrives at his residence in Tokyo on Saturday, July 9
A car transporting the body of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe arrives at his residence in Tokyo on Saturday, July 9 (Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images)

The body of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has arrived in Tokyo, according to CNN staff on the ground.

Abe's widow, Akie Abe, was traveling with his body to Japan's capital, where funeral arrangements are expected to be discussed, Abe's office told CNN earlier.

Dozens of reporters outnumbered uniformed police officers as they waited outside the Abe family's home for his body to arrive.

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.