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Live Reporting

Edited by Alex Therrien and Emma Owen

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodbye, and thanks for joining us

    We're wrapping up our live coverage now.

    If you want to read our news story about the day's events, it's here.

    Our visual guide to how the day unfolded, detailed articles on Shinzo Abe's life and legacy, video clips and more can be find on our topic page - here.

    Our writers today were Sam Hancock, Emily McGarvey and Thomas Mackintosh.

    That's it for now, and thanks for joining us.

  2. The key moments from today...

    A man prays at a site outside of Yamato-Saidaiji Station where Japan’s former PM Shinzo Abe was shot and killed

    We're bringing this live page to an end soon, so here's a recap of what happened today.

    The shooting

    • Shinzo Abe, the former Japanese prime minister, was shot at twice while speaking at a campaign event in Nara, southern Japan
    • After being taken to Nara Medical University Hospital, he was confirmed dead five hours later
    • In an emotional speech, Japan’s current PM, Fumio Kishida, said Abe had led the country “with great leadership”, and he was “lost for words”

    Hospital press conference

    • A doctor revealed Abe bled out after medical staff spent more than four hours trying to save his life
    • Two wounds were found towards the front of Abe's neck on the right side, the doctor said, with one deep enough that it reached his heart
    • There was also damage to Abe's shoulder but no bullets were found during surgery

    The suspect

    • The shooter, quickly identified as unemployed Tetsuya Yamagami, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder
    • Police later said that the 41-year-old admitted to having an issue with an "specific organisation", which he believed Abe to be a part of
    • Investigations are ongoing to ascertain if Yamagami acted alone

    Police press conference

    • Police said their investigation had a dedicated 90-person taskforce
    • Yamagami admitted to shooting Abe with a homemade gun, they said, but wouldn't confirm whether a 3D printer was used to make it
    • He travelled to Nara by train, but police could not say when he arrived
    • As well as guns, explosives were found in Yamagami's home, prompting police to evacuate the area until it was declared safe
  3. A look back at Shinzo Abe's life

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie on April 22, 2019 at Tokyo International Airport, Japan
    Image caption: Shinzo Abe married his wife Akie, a radio DJ, in 1987

    Shinzo Abe was born into a prominent political family in Tokyo. His grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, served as prime minister while his father, Shintaro Abe, previously served as foreign minister.

    Abe graduated with a degree in political science from Seikei University in Tokyo before studying public policy in the US. He began his career working for a Japanese steel manufacturer before leaving to pursue a number of government positions.

    Abe married his wife, Akie, a Japanese radio DJ and socialite in 1987, who was nicknamed the "domestic opposition party" due to her outspoken views which often contradicted her husband's.

    Abe and his wife had no children, having undergone unsuccessful fertility treatments early in their marriage.

    Abe's younger brother, Nobuo Kishi, became Japan's defence minister, while his older brother, Hironobu Abe, became president and CEO of a packaging corporation.

    Abe stepped down as prime minister in 2020 after revealing he had suffered a relapse of ulcerative colitis - the condition that caused him to resign in 2007 before returning to his post in 2012.

    Graphic showing Abe's political career
  4. Gentle, kind, sensitive - how one adviser remembers Abe

    Prof Yuichi Hosoya, a former advisor to Shinzo Abe's government, speaks to the BBC

    Professor Yuichi Hosoya, who advised Shinzo Abe's government on security and foreign affairs, has remembered him as "very gentle and kind - unlike the media image".

    "He was a very sensitive person," Prof Hosoya, who teaches history at Keio University in Tokyo, tells the BBC. "He always tried to listen to others and he was very flexible."

    Crediting Abe with making Japan an "international community", Prof Hosoya says he "fulfilled promises" which is why leaders trusted him.

    On China, he adds Abe understood that Japan's "national interest lay in better relations" there. "In 2006, he visited Beijing before he visited Washington DC because he knew that at that time the first priority was to repair the damage between the two countries."

  5. Canada has lost a close friend, says Trudeau

    Justin Trudeau and Shinzo Abe

    Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he is "deeply saddened".

    "The world has lost a great man of vision, and Canada has lost a close friend.

    "My thoughts are with his wife, Akie, and the people of Japan as they mourn this loss," he said.

  6. Abe, the face of a more assertive Japan

    Nadeem Shad

    BBC News

    Japan's leader Shinzo Abe

    From the day he stepped into office to the day he left, Shinzo Abe went about changing Japan inside and out.

    He revisited and reinterpreted Japan’s post-war “pacifist” constitution, introduced a new state secrecy law and supercharged the decade-long stagnant economy in a move that became known as "Abenomics".

    On foreign policy Abe forged relationships with Western democracies while also cultivating ties with countries such as Russia.

    A staunch US ally, he leaned towards Washington but remained pragmatic towards China despite tensions over disputed territorial claims.

    After stepping down, a visit to Japan’s controversial war memorial, the Yasukuni Shrine, and comments on Taiwan drew the ire of Chinese authorities.

    His country’s longest serving leader, Abe created a sense of stability and continuity for many.

    While he left power amid mediocre approval ratings, he was arguably Japan’s most powerful leader since World War Two.

    You can read more about his legacy here.

  7. How the former PM's assassination unfolded

    If you're just joining us, our graphics team have set out what happened in the city of Nara earlier today.

    Suspect seen behind Shinzo Abe before shooting
    Image caption: Abe, 67, was making a campaign speech outside a railway station for Kei Sato, an incumbent member of the upper house of parliament, unaware of another figure in the background, a casually dressed youngish man with a black cross-body bag.
    Map showing how the assassination of Shinzo Abe unfolded
    Image caption: At 11:30 local time (02:30 GMT) footage of the event shows the man moving forward, minutes after the former prime minister starts his speech. Shots ring out and Abe falls to the ground, visibly bleeding.
    Abe shooting suspect tackled by police
    Image caption: As terrified spectators duck down, security officials tackle the 41-year-old suspect, who makes no attempt to run. They wrestle him to the ground and take him into custody. Eyewitnesses say they saw the man carrying what they describe as a large gun and firing twice at Abe from behind.
  8. Fukushima, Super Mario and a controversial shrine

    Shinzo Abe
    Image caption: Abe dressed as Super Mario at the Rio Olympics closing ceremony

    Shinzo Abe's first stint as prime minister was brief - for a little over a year starting in 2006 - and controversial. But he made a surprising political comeback in 2012, staying in power until 2020 when he resigned for health reasons.

    Japan was in a recession when he began his second term and his economic policy was credited with helping return growth to a faltering economy.

    He oversaw Japan's recovery from a massive earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku in 2011, which killed nearly 20,000 people and led to a meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear reactors.

    Abe also had his unexpected moments, such as popping up dressed as Super Mario at the Rio Olympics closing ceremony in 2016 ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Games.

    Just days after stepping down as PM, he visited a controversial war memorial. The Yasukuni Shrine honours Japan's war dead, but also convicted war criminals. Visits by Japan's leaders to it had previously been seen as showing a lack of remorse for its militaristic past.

    You can read more about his legacy in Japan and in countries across the globe here.

  9. BreakingQueen 'deeply saddened' by Abe death

    The Queen hosted a private audience with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and his wife Akie, in May 2016
    Image caption: The Queen hosted former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife, Akie, at Buckingham Palace in May 2016

    The Queen has sent a message of condolence to the Emperor of Japan.

    The UK monarch said: "My family and I were deeply saddened to hear the news of the sudden and tragic death of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

    "I have fond memories of meeting Mr Abe and his wife during their visit to the United Kingdom in 2016.

    "His love for Japan, and his desire to forge ever-closer bonds with the United Kingdom, were clear.

    "I wish to convey my deepest sympathy and condolences to his family and to the people of Japan at this difficult time."

  10. Abe was a unifier like no other, says Trump

    Trump and Shinzo Abe

    More words describing Shinzo Abe as a towering politician on the global stage - this time from former US President Donald Trump.

    "He was a unifier like no other, but above all, he was a man who loved and cherished his magnificent country, Japan.

    "Shinzo Abe will be greatly missed."

    Trump added that the suspect "will hopefully be dealt with swiftly and harshly".

    In February 2017, Trump welcomed Abe to the White House and then to his resort in Florida where the pair played a round of golf.

    The former Japanese prime minister even fell into a bunker while Trump carried on golfing.

    Nine months later, Trump travelled to Japan and then again in May 2019, becoming the first world leader to meet the newly-enthroned Emperor Naruhito.

    Video content

    Video caption: Trump carries on golfing as Japan's Shinzo Abe falls into bunker in 2017
  11. There's never a sense of danger on the campaign trail, Tokyo journalist says

    People read newspapers in Japan

    The incident has been a huge shock for the people of Japan. Gun violence is rare, but questions are now being asked about the level of security in place for politicians touring the country.

    A Tokyo-based journalist, Paul Nadeau, has been speaking to the BBC about what people expect from a typical campaign event in Japan.

    "The thing that people should realise about Japanese campaigns is that they're much more immediate relationships between the public and the politician.

    "The rallies will fill up a town square or the plaza in front of a railway station.

    "You can shake hands with the prime minister, you can share some grapes, you can compliment his hair. It's just about all go and as crowded as it is, as many people as there are, there's never a sense of danger or a sense of threat or insecurity.

    "No one really ever gets all that worked up and so the security detail that's attached to the prime minister, whoever it is, reflects that."

  12. How could the assassination affect Sunday's election?

    Sakiko Shiraishi

    Reporting from Tokyo

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe makes a speech before he was shot from behind by a man in Nara, western Japan July 8, 2022
    Image caption: A large crowd had gathered to hear what Shinzo Abe had to say

    The assassination occurred two days before the Upper House election, which is of grave importance to Japan.

    Since no other national election is due for the next six years, the winner is certain to make major policy advances.

    The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has pledged to revise the constitution in this election. This includes revision of Article 9, the pacifist clause that bans Japan from having a military and taking part in warfare. Other proposed LDP changes are ones liberals fear will violate and undermine basic human rights in this country.

    Abe was known for his conservative outlook and hawkish foreign policy, and revising the constitution had been a long-held goal.

    Now, many fear that the constitutional agenda will be decided amidst the great confusion of his shocking death.

    On social media, people are posting all kinds of opinions: mourning Abe's death, condemning terrorism, suppressing various criticisms, calling for a calm vote, promoting a sympathy vote, and expressing concern about it. Some write they've been crying all day.

    At this point, the election is expected to be held as scheduled.

  13. New picture of moment suspect is tackled

    A police officer detains a man, believed to have shot former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in Nara, western Japan July 8, 2022

    Reuters have put out this picture of the moment just before the suspect was tackled. The air is thick with smoke and he's carrying what appears to be a weapon in his left hand.

    As we've been reporting, police don't know what his motive was yet - he told police he had a grudge against a "specific organisation".

    At the police press conference, it's emerged that he has said it was not about politics.

  14. In pictures: Mourners pay respects near crime scene

    People have been leaving flowers near the site of the shooting. Here's the scene in Nara now:

    Man prayers on site where Shinzo Abe was shot
    Family prayer on site where Shinzo Abe was shot
    Man prayers at site where Shinzo Abe was shot
    People lay flowers at the site where late former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot while campaigning for a parliamentary election, near Yamato-Saidaiji station in Nara
  15. Suspect's neighbourhood evacuated after explosives found

    There's a bit more detail from the press conference on what police have found at the suspect's home.

    Officials say that in addition to the handmade weapons, they also discovered a number of explosives. As a result, nearby residents have been asked to evacuate until the area can be declared safe.

    On the gun, police said it was made using a mix of materials such as metal and wood, but they are unable to say whether it was made using a 3D printer.

    Investigations are ongoing into whether he acted alone, they said.

    And on the unnamed organisation the suspect told police he has an issue with, police say they are still establishing whether Abe has any connection to it.

  16. What we learned from the police press conference

    A police officer stands outside Nara Medical University Hospital where late former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was taken after he was shot while campaigning for a parliamentary election, in Kashihara, Nara prefecture,
    Image caption: Police outside the hospital where Shinzo Abe was taken

    As we've been reporting, police investigating the shooting have been giving an update. Here's what we learned:

    • The case is now a murder investigation and a 90-person investigation taskforce has been established
    • The suspect, 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami, has admitted to shooting at the former prime minister with a homemade gun
    • He told officers he had a grudge against a "specific organisation" which he believed Abe was part of
    • He is unemployed and travelled to Nara by train, but police could not say when he arrived
    • Several handmade weapons, similar to those used in the attack, have been found at his home
  17. BreakingGun violence always leaves a deep scar - Biden

    Joe Biden with Shinzo Abe

    US President Joe Biden has said he is "stunned, outraged and deeply saddened".

    Biden, like President Barack Obama, worked closely with the former Japanese prime minister when he was US vice-president.

    He said: "He was a champion of the alliance between our nations and the friendship between our people.

    "The longest serving Japanese prime minister, his vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific will endure.

    "Above all, he cared deeply about the Japanese people and dedicated his life to their service.

    "Even at the moment he was attacked, he was engaged in the work of democracy.

    "While there are many details that we do not yet know, we know that violent attacks are never acceptable and that gun violence always leaves a deep scar on the communities that are affected by it.

    "The United States stands with Japan in this moment of grief. I send my deepest condolences to his family."

  18. Obama shocked and saddened by death of 'friend and partner'

    U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks while Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe listens at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam's Kilo Pier on December 27, 2016

    Former US President Barack Obama has released a statement.

    Obama, who worked closely with Abe when they were both leaders of their respective countries, said: "I am shocked and saddened by the assassination of my friend and long-time partner Shinzo Abe in Japan.

    "Former prime minister Abe was devoted to both the country he served and the extraordinary alliance between the United States and Japan.

    "I will always remember the work we did to strengthen our alliance, the moving experience of traveling to Hiroshima and Pearl Harbor together, and the grace he and his wife Akie Abe showed to me and Michelle.

    "Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the people of Japan who are very much in our thoughts at this painful moment."

  19. Police do not say if bullets found at scene of killing

    The suspect travelled to the site in Nara where the former prime minister was giving a speech by train, police say.

    But officers cannot say whether he had arrived immediately before the event was due to take place.

    Police would not say whether any bullets were found at the scene of the shooting, adding that investigations are ongoing.

  20. Police decline to answer question about level of security at event

    Police at the press conference are being questioned about the security of the event where Shinzo Abe was talking to supporters of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party.

    One journalist asks why there was space for people to walk, or stand, behind Abe when he gave his speech. He also quizzes police on the level of security at the event.

    In response, police say before they can speculate about who is at fault, or "responsible", the investigation needs to be carried out.