(Update: changes headline, lede, adds details)
Tokyo, Jul 8 (EFE).- Former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe died on Friday after being shot at an election rally in the western city of Nara, medical officials confirmed.
Abe, 67, was giving a campaign speech in the street when he was shot several times in the back.
Medical officials said the former prime minister had died as a result of injuries to the arteries and damage to the heart.
Abe was at a campaign rally for a parliamentary Upper House election scheduled for Sunday, in which the Liberal Democratic Party of Abe, and that of prime minister Fumio Kishida, hope to secure a majority.
Police have arrested Tetsuya Yamagami, a former member of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, for attempted murder, public broadcaster NHK reported.
Yamagami is believed to have carried out the attack with a homemade weapon, similar to a shotgun.
Kishida condemned the attack against the former prime minister in the “strongest possible terms.”
“This despicable, barbaric act that took place in the midst of an election, the very foundation of democracy, cannot be tolerated,” he said.
Election rallies in Japan are usually held in the middle of the street amid few security measures due to the low rate of crime and attacks with firearms in the country.
Abe was Japan’s longest serving prime minister and after stepping down from office in 2020 due to health issues, he remained the country’s most influential politician.
He was known for his economic strategy Abenomics, designed to pull the world’s third largest economy out of its long deflationary gap through massive public spending and ultra-low interest rates, among other easing measures.
Although no longer holding an official position in government or his party, Abe held a seat in parliament and, according to political sources, pulled the strings of the LDP conservative party. EFE