July 9, 2022 Shinzo Abe assassination news

By Rhea Mogul, Helen Regan, Amy Woodyatt, Adrienne Vogt and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

Updated 3:57 PM ET, Sat July 9, 2022
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7:17 a.m. ET, July 9, 2022

"I take responsibility" for the assassination of Shinzo Abe, Nara police chief says

From CNN’s Mayumi Maruyama

The police chief of the prefecture where Japan's former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated said he "take[s] responsibility" for the security failure that resulted in his killing.

Nara Prefectural Police Chief Tomoaki Onizuka told a news conference Saturday that Abe's security personnel followed Onizuka's approved plan.

"After the first report of the incident came at 11:30 a.m., and the situation was revealed, it was the height of the guilt and regret I've felt in my 27 years in law enforcement," he said.

"I feel the weight of my responsibility," Onizuka added, sounding deeply emotional.
6:43 a.m. ET, July 9, 2022

Hong Kong chief executive expresses "profound sadness" at Shinzo Abe's death

From CNN’s Wayne Chang in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee expresses "profound sadness" at Shinzo Abe's death on Saturday.
Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee expresses "profound sadness" at Shinzo Abe's death on Saturday. (Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee has expressed “profound sadness” and “deepest sympathies” Saturday at the passing of Japan's former Prime Minster Shinzo Abe, according to a government statement.

"On behalf of the people and Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, I express our sympathies to Mr Abe's family on the passing of Mr Abe," Lee said.

Hong Kong and Japan maintained closely co-operative relations when Mr Abe was in office as the Prime Minister of Japan, during which the two places enjoyed close ties and made positive progress in various areas including economic and trade affairs, tourism and cultural exchanges," Lee said.

"May he rest in peace," Lee added.

6:52 a.m. ET, July 9, 2022

"Can't deny there were problems" with former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's security, says Nara police chief

From CNN's Mayumi Maruyama

People offer flowers and prayers near a site where former prime minister Shinzo Abe was shot.
People offer flowers and prayers near a site where former prime minister Shinzo Abe was shot. (Naoya Azuma/AP)

A police chief in the city where former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was fatally shot said he "can't deny there were problems" with Abe's security.

Tomoaki Onizuka, Nara Prefectural Police Chief, said in a press conference on Saturday that authorities are looking into what went wrong in the lead-up to Abe being shot.

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 shaken Japan and reverberated around the world.

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.

4:23 a.m. ET, July 9, 2022

Supporter shares interaction with Shinzo Abe before his death

A supporter of the former Japanese prime minister has shared footage of a close interaction with Shinzo Abe before his death.

A video circulated on Twitter, originally posted on TikTok, shows footage of Abe greeting his supporters in public one day before he was fatally shot.

The video shows a supporter using their hands to create a heart. They captioned the TikTok "Yesterday, he (Abe) made a heart for me... today, he was shot... please take care."

(From Tiktok)
(From Tiktok)

7:06 a.m. ET, July 9, 2022

Shinzo Abe’s funeral to be held over Monday and Tuesday

From CNN’s Mayumi Maruyama and Chie Kobayashi

Akie Abe, wife of Shinzo Abe, is seen in the car carrying former Prime Minister Abe’s body and arrives at their home in Tokyo, Japan on Saturday.
Akie Abe, wife of Shinzo Abe, is seen in the car carrying former Prime Minister Abe’s body and arrives at their home in Tokyo, Japan on Saturday. (Shiho Fukada for CNN)

The funeral for former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be held over Monday and Tuesday, Abe’s office told CNN. A wake will be held on Monday, followed by a memorial service on Tuesday, Abe’s office said.

The funeral will be hosted by his widow Akie Abe in a temple in Tokyo, Japan’s public broadcaster NHK reported.

The attendance will be limited to family members and people close to Abe, NHK added.

2:40 a.m. ET, July 9, 2022

Sydney's Opera House will light up in honor of Shinzo Abe

From CNN's Paul Devitt in Sydney

The sails of Sydney's iconic Opera House will shine on Saturday in honor of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe following his assassination.

"Yesterday, Japan tragically lost one of its finest leaders," Dominic Perrottet, the premier of the state of New South Wales, of which Sydney is the capital, tweeted Saturday.
"Tomorrow night, the sails of the Sydney Opera House will shine brightly in red and white, in honour of the life of Shinzo Abe. NSW stands together with our friends in Japan.”

The Australian city of Melbourne will also be "lit up" on Saturday night to honor Abe's life, Dan Andrews, premier of the state of Victoria, wrote on Twitter Saturday.

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.