Shinzo Abe shooting is 5th gun attack on Japan politician since 1990: Report
Japan prime minister Fumio Kishida slammed the attack on Shinzo Abe - one of the country's most influential political figures - as 'absolutely unforgivable'.
The shooting of ex Japan prime minister Shinzo Abe is only the fifth involving a political leader of that country since 1990, according to Japanese broadcaster NHK. The most recent was 15 years ago - Nagasaki mayor Ito Itcho was shot dead in 2007 by a criminal group.
The list of gun attacks on Japanese political leaders includes only one other involving a prime minister.
> In 1994, ex-PM Hosokawa Morihiro was fired on by a right-wing group member while at a hotel in Tokyo. Fortunately, he was not injured.
> In 1992, another member of a right-wing group opened fire on Kanemaru Shin, then vice president of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) at an event in Tochigi Prefecture, which is 108 km north of Tokyo. He too was unharmed.
Shinzo Abe, incidentally, is a member of the LDP.
LIVE UPDATES: Ex-Japan PM Shinzo Abe shot at in Nara
According to media reports from Japan, the suspect in his shooting - Yamagami Tetsuya, a 41-year-old resident of Nara - told police he was unhappy with Abe.
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> Two years before the attack on Shin, in 1990, Motoshima Hitoshi, then-mayor of Nagasaki, was seriously injured in an attack also by a right-wing member.
> A fifth gun attack took place in 1995 in Tokyo - then-commissioner of Japan's National Police Agency was shot and seriously wounded near his residence.
In Japan, senior political leaders are accompanied by armed security but sometimes do get close to the public, especially during campaigns.
However, Airo Hino, a political science professor at Waseda University told Reuters, a shooting is unprecedented in Japan.
"There has never been anything like this," he said.
What PM Kishida said
Japan prime minister Fumio Kishida has come out swinging after Abe was shot, slamming the attack on one of the country's most influential figures as 'absolutely unforgivable'.
"I am praying from my heart that Abe survives this ordeal. It is a barbaric act during election campaigning, which is the foundation of democracy, and it is absolutely unforgivable. I condemn this... We cannot accept that this violent act took place during an election... the foundation of democracy."
What we know so far about attack on Shinzo Abe
Abe was shot at 11.30 am, chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said.
He was pronounced dead around six hours later.
Japan media said two shots were heard while Abe was campaigning in Nara and Abe could later be seen lying on the ground with blood on his chest.
Kyodo news agency said Abe, 67, appeared to be in a state of cardiac arrest when airlifted to hospital, after having initially been conscious and responsive.
The suspect - Tetsuya - was tackled by security personnel on the street.
How the world responded
The attack comes as a shock to the global community because Japan has some of the strictest gun laws and is widely considered one of the safest in the world.
The United States, the United Kingdom, India, Australia, Taiwan, Indonesia and others have united in condemning the attack.
With input from Reuters