WARNING – CONFRONTING IMAGES: Distressing video has emerged of the moment Japan’s former prime minister was gunned down in the street while making a speech.
Shinzo Abe was addressing a crowd in the western city of Nara, about 30km east of Osaka, when he was shot from behind by what appeared to be a man with a shotgun.
In the clip filmed by a person in the crowd, Mr Abe can be seen speaking into a microphone when the first blast goes off.
The sound causes people in the crowd to jump in shock, and others can be heard crying out as a cloud of smoke rises into the air.
Mr Abe is still seen standing at the podium when the camera drops towards the ground.
Three seconds after the first shot, a second bang is heard and the footage cuts off.
"He was giving a speech and a man came from behind," a woman at the scene told Japanese broadcaster NHK.
"The first shot sounded like a toy. He didn't fall and there was a large bang. The second shot was more visible, you could see the spark and smoke," she added.
"After the second shot, people surrounded him and gave him cardiac massage."
Photos from the scene show the 67-year-old lying on the ground with what appears to be blood on his white shirt.
Police detained a 42-year-old man at the scene and seized a gun, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno confirmed in a statement.
In dramatic photos of the arrest, a double-barrelled device – which appeared to be a handmade gun – can be seen on the ground.
Japanese PM says Mr Abe still alive
In a press conference on Friday afternoon, Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Mr Abe is alive but in a critical condition.
"At this moment, doctors are working very hard to save Mr Abe," Mr Kishida said.
All cabinet ministers have been asked to return to Tokyo and a review will be conducted into Mr Abe's security.
Albo, ScoMo send messages of support to Japan
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese tweeted his support for Mr Abe, saying the news was “shocking”.
“Our thoughts are with his family and the people of Japan at this time,” Mr Albanese said.
Former PM Scott Morrison also penned a message on Facebook, calling Mr Abe a “great and wise friend of Australia”.
"I am deeply distressed to hear the reports of the alleged attack on former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe," Mr Morrison wrote.
Shocking news from Japan that former PM Shinzo Abe has been shot - our thoughts are with his family and the people of Japan at this time
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) July 8, 2022
"PM Abe is a great and wise friend of Australia and one of the most important global leaders of the post war era. Our prayers are with him, his wife Akie and the people of Japan at this very difficult time."
Abe served two terms as prime minister to become Japan's longest-serving premier before stepping down in 2020 citing ill health.
He has remained a dominant presence over the ruling Liberal Democratic party, controlling one of its major factions.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.