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July 8, 2022 Shinzo Abe shot dead in Nara, Japan

Video shows moment Shinzo Abe was shot
01:10

What we covered here

  • Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe died at age 67 after being shot during a speech on Friday in Nara, Japan, doctors who were treating him confirmed.
  • Police said the shooting suspect admitted to shooting Abe. According to police, the suspect said he holds hatred toward a certain group, which he thought Abe was linked to.
  • He used a homemade gun in the shooting, and authorities confiscated several handmade pistol-like items from his apartment, police said.
  • Abe was the longest-serving Japanese prime minister in history. He stepped down as leader in 2020, citing health reasons.
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Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated on Friday. Here's what you need to know

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe died after being shot on the street in the city of Nara on Friday — a shocking act of violence in a country with one of the world’s lowest rates of gun crime. The shooting suspect was arrested by police, who said he admitted to shooting Abe.

Here’s what you need to know:

The shooting: Abe was shot at about 11:30 a.m. local time in Nara, east of Osaka, as he gave an election campaign speech on the street. He suffered a gunshot wound to the right side of his neck, according to officials in Tokyo. He was taken to the hospital first by ambulance, then by medical helicopter.

Rushed to the hospital: Abe arrived at the hospital in a state of cardiac arrest at 12:20 p.m. local time, according to doctors at Nara Medical University.

Confirmed dead: Abe was pronounced dead at 5:03 p.m. local time, according to the head of Nara Medical University. At a news conference at the hospital, doctors said the former leader died from excessive bleeding and the bullet that killed him had penetrated deep enough to reach his heart.

The suspect: Police arrested shooting suspect Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, who admitted to shooting Abe. According to police, Yamagami said he holds hatred toward a certain group, which he thought Abe was linked to. He used a homemade gun in the shooting, and authorities confiscated several handmade pistol-like items from his apartment, police said.

Shootings are extremely rare in Japan because of strict gun ownership laws: In 2018, Japan, a country of 125 million people, only reported nine deaths from firearms — compared with 39,740 that year in the United States. Under Japan’s firearms laws, the only guns permitted for sale are shotguns and air rifles — handguns are outlawed. But getting them is a long and complicated process that requires strenuous effort — and lots of patience. The laws and the thorough process of background checks have kept the number of private gun owners in Japan extremely low.

UN ambassadors observe moment of silence to honor former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

UN ambassadors observed a moment of silence for the assassinated former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a session of the Human Rights Council on Friday in Geneva. 

The moment of silence was prompted by Japan’s Ambassador to Geneva Yamazaki Kazuyuki, who asked other representatives to join him in his tribute to Abe.

“I would appreciate if you could join us in observing a moment of silence and silent prayer for Mr. Abe Shinzo,” Kazuyuki said.

Car believed to be carrying body of former Japanese prime minister leaves hospital, NHK reports

A car believed to be carrying the body of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe left the Nara Medical University Hospital in Japan’s Nara prefecture before 6 a.m. local time on Saturday, the country’s public broadcaster NHK reported.

Abe arrived at the hospital in a state of cardiac arrest at 12:20 p.m. local time, according to doctors at Nara Medical University.

He was pronounced dead at 5:03 p.m. local time, according to the head of Nara Medical University. At a news conference at the hospital, doctors said the former leader died from excessive bleeding and the bullet that killed him had penetrated deep enough to reach his heart.

Biden mourns death of "friend" Shinzo Abe as he reflects on his personal history with former prime minister

President Joe Biden signs a condolence book in honor of deceased former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Japanese Ambassador’s residence in Washington, DC, on July 8.

US President Joe Biden spoke about the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the beginning of his speech to CIA employees in Virginia on Friday, calling Abe a “friend” and adding he has “confidence in the strength of Japan’s democracy.” 

Biden began his remarks by speaking about the “horrific, shocking killing of my friend Japanese Prime Minister Abe,” and reflected on his personal history with Abe during Biden’s tenure as vice president. 

“I became acquainted with him as vice president, I hosted him, he hosted me in Japan,” Biden said, noting that he stopped by on Friday to see the ambassador and “sign a condolence book for the Japanese people.”

“I knew him (Abe) well. We worked together closely for years and we spoke and consulted one another when I served as vice president. And he was deeply committed to strengthening the alliance and friendship between the United States and Japan and pursuing an open and free Indo-Pacific region,” Biden said. 

Biden praised the former Japanese leader for his commitment and wished the people of Japan well amid a shocking gun violence death in a nation with historically very few instances of gun violence. 

“Even after he stepped down from public office to focus on his health, he stayed engaged. He cared deeply and I hold him in great respect. This attack was – has had a profound impact on the psyche of the Japanese people. This is a different, different culture. They’re not used to as unfortunately, we are, in the United States, we know how deep the wounds of gun violence go from communities that are affected. And this assassination is a tragedy that all the people in Japan,” Biden said. 

Biden said he’s confident Japan’s democracy will withstand the tumult of Abe’s death ahead of its upcoming elections. 

“Today, I’m keeping his wife and family my prayers, and the United States is standing in solidarity with our ally, Japan, with confidence in the strength of Japan’s democracy as they approach their elections on Sunday,” Biden said.

Japan's National Police Agency will review security arrangements for Shinzo Abe, NHK reports

Japan’s National Police Agency will review security arrangements for former prime minister Shinzo Abe after he was fatally shot during a campaign speech, the country’s public broadcaster, NHK, reported Saturday. 

Abe was shot in Nara prefecture in central Japan. He died on Friday from excessive bleeding and was pronounced dead at 5:03 p.m. local time, doctors at the Nara Medical University hospital said during a news conference on Friday. 

NHK added that the police agency said the Nara prefectural police drew up a security plan for the former prime minister while in the city. The agency said that the prefecture’s police officers and security personnel from the Tokyo Metropolitan police had remained on the lookout and had reportedly watched Abe from all sides during his speech, NHK reported.

The police agency did not state how many officers had been deployed to the site. However, it said several dozen, including one specially assigned personnel from the Tokyo police force and the Nara prefecture’s plain-clothed police officers were on duty, NHK reported. 

Here's a look at the legacy of Shinzo Abe, Japan's longest-serving prime minister

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a news conference in Makati City, the Philippines, on July 27, 2013.  

Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe died after being shot during a campaign speech Friday in Nara. He was 67.

Abe served two separate terms as the Japanese leader for the right-leaning Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) — the first from 2006 to 2007, then again from 2012 until 2020. His second stint was the longest consecutive term for a Japanese head of government.

He came from a family of Japanese prime ministers

Abe was born on Sept. 21, 1954, in Tokyo, to a prominent political family. Both his grandfather and great uncle served as prime minister, and his father was a former secretary general of the LDP.

Abe was first elected to Japan’s House of Representatives in 1993, at age 38. He held a number of cabinet positions throughout the 2000s, and in 2003 became secretary general of the LDP. Four years later, he was named the party’s president and became prime minister of Japan.

His first term was marred by controversies and worsening health, and he stepped down as party leader and prime minister in 2007. The end of Abe’s first term opened a revolving door in which five different men held the prime minister post in five years until his re-election in 2012. He stepped down in 2020 citing ill health.

He continued to be an influential leader after leaving office

After leaving office, Abe remained head of the largest faction of the ruling LDP and remained influential within the party. He has continued to campaign for a stronger security policy and last year angered China by calling for a greater commitment from allies to defend democracy in Taiwan. In response, Beijing summoned Japan’s ambassador and accused Abe of openly challenging China’s sovereignty.

Abe, son of late former Foreign Minister Shintaro Abe, during a memorial ceremony on April 15, 1993 in Tokyo.

Abe redefined Japan’s diplomatic and military policy

Abe will be remembered for boosting defense spending and pushing through the most dramatic shift in Japanese military policy in 70 years. In 2015, his government passed a reinterpretation of Japan’s postwar, pacifist constitution, allowing Japanese troops to engage in overseas combat — with conditions — for the first time since World War II.

Abe argued the change was needed to respond to a more challenging security environment, a nod to a more assertive China and frequent missile tests in North Korea.

During his term, Abe sought to improve relations with Beijing and held a historic phone call with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in 2018. At the same time, he tried to counter Chinese expansion in the region by uniting Pacific allies.

He attempted to build a personal relationship with former United States President Donald Trump. As Washington’s relationship with Pyongyang tipped toward diplomacy, with both Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in holding historic summits with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Abe said he was “determined” to meet Kim. Abe wanted to normalize relations with North Korea and ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula, but his first priority was to bring some closure for the families of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and 80s.

During his tenure, Japan’s relations with South Korea soured. The two countries were engaged in a major dispute in which trade and military intelligence deals were scrapped, partly due to the legacy of World War II and Japan’s brutal colonization of the Korean Peninsula.

The “Abenomics”

Abe came to office during a time of economic turmoil and soon set about rebooting Japan’s economy after decades of stagnation. Soon after he was re-elected prime minister in 2012, he launched a grand experiment popularly known as “Abenomics.”

It included three so-called arrows — massive monetary stimulus, increased government spending, and structural reforms.

After a strong start, it faltered and in 2015, Abe fired “three new arrows” designed to boost gross domestic product. Any hopes they might eventually hit their mark were dashed when Covid-19 swept through the country in 2020, tipping Japan into recession.

One of Abe’s major domestic achievements was securing the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. But the success of the much anticipated Tokyo Games was ultimately undone by the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced the competition to be postponed to 2021.

Abe during a televised news conference about Covid-19, on April 7, 2020 in Tokyo.

Abe declared a state of emergency months after the first cases were detected. His administration was also criticized for the low rate of testing, and an early lack of specialist medical equipment to treat the rising number of patients.

More successful was Abe’s handling of the abdication of Emperor Akihito, the first Japanese monarch to step down in two centuries. He was succeeded by his son, Emperor Naruhito, in October 2019, starting the Reiwa era.

Abe is survived by his wife Akie Abe, née Matsuzaki, who he married in 1987. The couple did not have children.

Read more about his legacy here and see his life in photos here.

Biden orders flags be lowered to half-staff following Abe's death

US President Joe Biden is ordering flags to be lowered to half-staff until July 10 following the death of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, writing in a presidential proclamation that the late PM “was a proud servant of the Japanese people and a faithful friend to the United States.”

“He worked with American Presidents of both parties to deepen the Alliance between our nations and advance a common vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Biden wrote Friday. “Even in the moment he was attacked and killed, he was engaged in the work of democracy, to which he dedicated his life.”

Biden also signed a condolence book for Abe at the Japanese ambassador’s residence in Washington, DC. He laid a small wreath of flowers on the table as well. 

Japanese Ambassador to the US Koji Tomita greeted Biden for the condolence book signing, according to reporters traveling with the President. 

CNN’s Aaron Pellish contributed reporting for this post.

Correction: A earlier version of this post incorrectly described where Biden signed a condolence book for Abe. It was at the Japanese ambassador’s residence.

Leaders recall "a kind and decent man" who worked to "bring balance" to the world

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a meeting at the G-20 Foreign Ministers Summit in Nusa Dua, on Indonesia's resort island of Bali, on July 8.

Tributes to Shinzo Abe have continued to pour in from politicians around the world, many of whom recalled their visits with the former leader and expressed their shock at his killing.

French President Emmanuel Macron said “Japan has lost a great prime minister.”

“On behalf of the French people, I send my condolences to the Japanese authorities and people after the assassination of Shinzo Abe. Japan has lost a great Prime Minister, who dedicated his life to his country and worked to bring balance to the world,” Macron tweeted.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Abe’s assassination “shocking,” and praised Abe as “a leader with great vision” and an “extraordinary partner,” who took US-Japanese relations “to new heights.”

“It’s profoundly disturbing in and of itself, it’s also such a strong personal loss for so many people,” Blinken said Friday.

A number of former leaders who worked with Abe during his time as Japanese prime minister also offered their condolences.

Former British Prime Minister David Cameron said Abe was “a good friend personally, a strong partner to the UK, and a thoroughly kind and decent man.” He called his death “devastating and truly shocking.”

Israel’s ex-leader Benjamin Netanyahu said he “will always remember Shinzo Abe and cherish our deep friendship,” while Nicolas Sarkozy, the former French prime minister, called him “a great leader who left his mark on Japan.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Abe’s death “incredibly shocking,” adding that he was “deeply saddened.” Trudeau tweeted, “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. You’ll be missed, my friend.”

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro called Abe “a brilliant leader” in a tweet Friday. “I receive with extreme indignation and grief the news of the death of @AbeShinzo, a brilliant leader who was a great friend of Brazil. I extend to Abe’s family, as well as to our Japanese brothers, my solidarity and my wish that God watch over their souls in this moment of pain,” he said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky sent his “deepest condolences” to Abe’s family and the people of Japan. “Horrible news of a brutal assassination of former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe. I am extending my deepest condolences to his family and the people of Japan at this difficult time. This heinous act of violence has no excuse,” Zelensky tweeted.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said she was “extremely pained” by Abe’s passing, referring to the late leader as “the staunchest friend of Taiwan.” Tsai Ing-wen said Abe was “an old friend” she had known “for more than a decade.”

UN Secretary General António Guterres tweeted his condolences over Abe’s assassination. “I’m deeply saddened by the horrific killing of Shinzo Abe, former Prime Minister of Japan,” Guterres said. “I had the privilege of knowing him for years & will always remember his collegiality & commitment to multilateralism. My condolences to his family, and the people & Government of Japan.”

Former US President Barack Obama said he’s “shocked and saddened” by Abe’s assassination. In a statement, he recounted the close relationship the two leaders forged during his second term in office and the “extraordinary alliance” between the two nations. In 2016, Obama traveled to Hiroshima with Abe — becoming the first sitting US president to do so — and later that year, Abe returned the gesture, becoming the first Japanese prime minister to visit Pearl Harbor.

Former US President George W. Bush, who worked with Abe during his first stint as Japanese prime minister in 2006, said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened to learn of the senseless assassination,” adding that “Shinzo Abe was a patriot of his country who wanted to continue serving it.”

Queen Elizabeth II, in a message of condolence to the emperor of Japan, said Abe’s “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.”

The Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, expressed his “deep sadness,” saying in an interview Friday with Italian state broadcaster RAI that Abe “was a man who had a great influence beyond Japan’s borders. He was a very controversial person as well, however, a man of principles, a man of great sense of the common good of his people.”

Japan had only one gun-related death reported in 2021

Japan reported only one death due to firearms in 2021, according to the National Police Agency. A total of 10 firearm-related incidents were reported in the country in 2021 — up from seven in 2020.

Eight of the 10 reported incidents were gang-related, the agency’s report states.

In the past five years, the highest number of firearm-related deaths per year reported in Japan was four.

The data indicates just how rare gun violence is in Japan, which can be credited to its strict gun ownership laws and thorough background check processes.

Read more about Japan’s gun laws here and see how the country’s laws and gun-related homicide rates compare to other nations in the chart below:

Abe assassination will be equivalent to JFK shooting for Japan, former adviser says

People pray near the site where Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot earlier, on July 8 in Nara, Japan.

Tomohiko Taniguchi, a special adviser to former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said Abe was “one of the most transformative leaders” of Japan.

“I think it’s going to be an equivalent of JFK’s assassination day. … It’s been a day of sadness, grief, disbelief, and for me, tremendous anger. People are finding it very much hard to digest the reality. I think it’s very much an isolated event conducted by very much an isolated person. Nonetheless, that isolated incident killed one of the most transformative leaders of the Japanese history,” he said.

He recalled Abe as a kind man and someone who wanted to usher Japan forward.

“He and Mrs. Abe did not have their own child, and he wanted to bring Japan to the younger generations as a country that is prosperous and future-oriented,” he said.

“Once you are befriended with him, you get a lifelong friend,” he added.

Taniguchi was an adviser to Abe from 2013-2014 and wrote foreign policy speeches for the former leader.

“I would very much like to see his legacy lasting, because there are very few options available for Japan. It’s a maritime nation, and it’s sitting on the periphery of a huge land mass which is being dominated by three nuclear power nations — Russia, North Korea, China — none of which is democratic. So Japan badly needs alliance partners like the United States, which Shinzo Abe tried very much hard to do,” he added.

Shootings are extremely rare in Japan because of strict gun ownership laws

The shooting of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has shocked Japan, which has one of the lowest rates of gun crime in the world due to its extremely strict gun ownership laws.

Gun violence is extremely rare in Japan.

In 2018, Japan, a country of 125 million people, only reported nine deaths from firearms — compared with 39,740 that year in the United States.

Under Japan’s firearms laws, the only guns permitted for sale are shotguns and air rifles — handguns are outlawed. But getting them is a long and complicated process that requires strenuous effort — and lots of patience.

To buy a gun in Japan, potential buyers must:

  • Attend an all-day class
  • Pass a written test
  • Pass a shooting-range test with an accuracy of at least 95%
  • Undergo mental health evaluation and drug tests
  • Undergo a rigorous background check — including a review of their criminal record, personal debt, involvement in organized crime and relationships with family and friends.

After obtaining a gun, the owner must register their weapon with police and provide details of where their gun and ammunition is stored, in separate, locked compartments. The gun must be inspected by the police once a year, and gun owners must retake the class and sit an exam every three years to renew their license.

The restrictions have kept the number of private gun owners in Japan extremely low.

Read more here.

Abe assassination suspect admitted to shooting him, police say

Tetsuya Yamagami, center, throwing a weapon, is detained near the site of gunshots in Nara, western Japan, on July 8.

The suspect in the assassination of Shinzo Abe admitted to shooting the former prime minister, police said at a news conference Friday.

According to Nara-nishi police, Yamagami Tetsuya, a 41-year-old unemployed man, said he holds hatred toward a certain group, which he thought Abe was linked to.

Biden "stunned, outraged, and deeply saddened" by Abe's death

Then US Vice President Joe Biden, left, shares a laugh with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a joint press conference after their meeting at Abe's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, on December 3, 2013.

US President Joe Biden said he was “stunned, outraged, and deeply saddened” by the death of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday.

“Above all, [Abe] 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,” Biden wrote in a statement. “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.” 

Abe maintained a close relationship with the United States during his time as prime minister, traveling with then-President Barack Obama to Pearl Harbor in 2016 and, later that year, becoming the first world leader to meet with then-president elect Donald Trump in New York, just two weeks after his election. As vice president, Biden met with Abe both in Tokyo and Washington. 

Earlier Friday, a White House spokesperson told CNN’s Jeremy Diamond that the White House was “shocked and saddened” by Abe’s shooting.

Biden told reporters Friday that he’s reached out to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida following the assassination of the former prime minister, adding that he planned to stop by the Japanese embassy to sign a condolence book later on in the day.

He said that right now, he does not believe Abe’s death will “have any profound destabilizing impact on Japanese security or Japanese solidarity,” adding that Japan is a “very, very stable ally.”  

The President noted, “this is the first use of a weapon to murder someone in Japan,” to date this year, while the US has had “between 3 and 4,000 cases.”

He said as investigations continue, the FBI will give the President more details.

Police are investigating Abe shooting as a murder case

Police investigators head to a condominium owned by the man in custody for the shooting of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Nara, Japan, on July 8.

The shooting of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is being investigated as a murder case, Nara-nishi police said Friday.

According to police, shooting suspect Yamagami Tetsuya, a 41-year-old unemployed man, said he holds hatred towards a certain group, which he thought Abe was linked to.

Ninety investigators are dedicated to the case, police said.

Police searched the suspect’s apartment at 5:17 p.m. local time, police said, adding that several handmade pistol-like items were confiscated during the raid.

"Abenomics": Shinzo Abe will be remembered for his grand experiment

Shinzo Abe, Japan's Prime Minister, speaks during an event hosted by business lobby Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) in Tokyo, Japan, on December 26, 2017

In early 2013, Japan’s late former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe launched a grand experiment designed to jolt Japan’s economy out of decades of stagnation. Known as “Abenomics,” it included three so-called arrows: massive monetary stimulus, increased government spending and significant economic reforms.

“Abenomics was, in very simple terms, a throw-it-all, buy-it-all strategy to try and stimulate growth. So, put massive spending into the economy, buy up government bonds, also implement economic reforms,” CNN’s Anna Stewart explained. “It was a way of trying to get mass employment, make people wealthier so they could spend more money, and just try and get the economy ticking.”

“During his premiership, you saw the Bank of Japan push interest rates into negative territory,” she said, adding that such a move was extremely unconventional at the time combined with “huge quantitative easing.”

Since then, such a move has become much more conventional, particularly in recent years since the pandemic with all sorts of central banks around the world — the US Federal reserve, the ECB, the Bank of England — all doing similar moves, she added.

Abenomics was successful as well — at least for the first few years, according to experts, Stewart noted. “Critics would say that not all three arrows were ever fully achieved, and as a result of that, the success was unfortunately, limited.”

“The problem for Japan was how to end what was very loose monetary policy, and also some of the structural issues, particularly with an aging workforce,” Stewart added.

However, the policy also led to record-high government debt and failed to make a lasting dent in decades of deflation, CNN’s Will Ripley reported.

SOON: Police will hold a news conference on Abe's assassination

Police in Nara, Japan, will hold a news conference on the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Abe died on Friday after being shot while giving a campaign speech on a street in central Japan, according to public broadcaster NHK.

Abe died from excessive bleeding and was pronounced dead at 5:03 p.m. local time, doctors at the Nara Medical University hospital said during a news conference on Friday. The doctors said the bullet that killed the former Japanese leader was “deep enough to reach his heart” and a team of 20 medical professionals were unable to stop the bleeding.

Abe went into cardiopulmonary arrest at the site of the shooting and was rushed to hospital in a state of cardiac arrest at 12:20 p.m. local time, doctors said. During surgery, doctors discovered a bullet wound to his neck and a large wound on his heart.

Abe, 67, was the former Liberal Democratic Party leader and Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, holding office from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2012 to 2020, before resigning due to health reasons. Since stepping down, he remained in the public eye and regularly appeared in the media to discuss current affairs.

CNN’s Helen Regan and Junko Ogura contributed reporting to this post.

Abe was delivering a speech in front of a railway station when he was shot

Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe makes a street speech before being shot in front of Yamato-Saidaiji Station on July 8, in Nara, Japan.

The assassination of Shinzo Abe took place in broad daylight on a street in the Japanese city of Nara, a regional capital just east of Osaka.

Abe was delivering a speech in support of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) candidates ahead of the upcoming Upper House elections scheduled for Sunday.

He had planned to head to Kyoto next, then to Saitama prefecture neighboring the capital Tokyo.

Video aired by the public broadcaster captured the moments before the shooting, showing the former prime minister speaking to a small crowd in front of Yamatosaidaiji railway station. In subsequent videos, two shots can be heard and smoke can be seen in the air.

Abe left "a lot of legacies," both nationally and globally

U.S. President Barack Obama, left, speaks to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during their trilateral meeting with South Korean President Park Geun-Hye at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC, on March 31, 2016.

Kazuto Suzuki, professor of public policy at Hokkaido University, told CNN’s Max Foster that Shinzo Abe “left a lot of legacies in Japan and the world.”

He “very successfully transformed Japan into a modern state fitting into this globalizing world … after the subprime crisis,” Suzuki said, adding that the former prime minister helped to recover the country from deflation through “Abenomics.”

“He also tried to change the constitution – although he was not successful – but he introduced the legislation on peace and security, which allows the partial implementation of the collective self-defense, which were for the last 70 years was was not allowed to have under the interpretation of our constitution,” he added. 

One of Abe’s biggest legacies, Suzuki said, “is the concept of Indo-Pacific.”

He was “trying to bring the United States, Australia and India [into] the effort of counterbalancing [and] counter-measuring with [the] emergence of China in East Asia,” Suzuki said.

Michelle Lee, The Washington Post’s Tokyo bureau chief, told CNN that the best way to describe Abe is as “a towering political figure both at home and abroad.”

He is “probably the most recognizable Japanese politician outside of Japan. And even within Japan, even though he resigned in 2020 as prime minister,” she added. 

“He was the youngest prime minister to be elected. He was the longest serving prime minister. He said so many things and created some controversies and scandals, but he was incredibly influential,” Lee said.

Read more on Abe here.

Vladimir Putin and other world leaders pay homage to Abe, calling assassination "despicable"

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a personal letter of condolences to the family of assassinated former Japanese leader Shinzo Abe on Friday, calling him “an outstanding statesman.”

“Please accept my deepest condolences on the passing of your son and husband, Shinzo Abe,” Putin wrote in the letter, addressed to Abe’s mother and wife.

Colombian President Ivan Duque also expressed deep regret on behalf of Colombians, writing in a tweet: “We will always remember him as a leader very close to Colombia. Solidarity with his family and the Japanese people.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a tweet he was “stunned and deeply saddened” by Abe’s death, saying the country will “stand close to Japan.”

Israel’s leaders also spoke out, with Prime Minister Yair Lapid praising Abe as “one of the most important leaders of modern Japan, and a true friend of Israel.” Israel’s President Isaac Herzog also released a statement, saying he was “horrified by the despicable murder of Shinzo Abe, one of Japan’s most preeminent leaders in modern times.”

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida: Abe was "a personal friend with whom I spent a lot of time"

Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida reacts as he holds a press conference at the prime minister's office in Tokyo, Japan, on July 8, after news of the attack on former prime minister Shinzo Abe.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida paid his “deepest condolences” to former leader Shinzo Abe on Friday, saying he “was a personal friend, with whom I spent a lot of time.”

Speaking at a news conference on Friday, Kishida said he had “great respect for the legacy (Abe) left behind,” adding he had received a lot of advice from his predecessor and was grateful for his warm support.

Kishida said he will continue campaigning tomorrow, ahead of Upper House elections scheduled for Sunday, adding that a free and fair vote must be defended at all costs.

Abe had been delivering a campaign speech, supporting candidates from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, when he was shot in Nara on Friday.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol: Abe's assassination is "an unacceptable criminal act"

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol speaks during a ceremony on June 6 in Seoul, South Korea.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol expressed his shock and sorrow for the death of Shinzo Abe in a statement released by the presidential office late Friday afternoon.

“I extend my condolences to the bereaved family and the Japanese people who have lost the longest-serving Prime Minister and a respected politician in the history of Japan’s constitution,” President Yoon said, according to the statement.

Foreign leaders extend condolences to Japan: "We mourn with you"

The news of Shinzo Abe’s assassination has prompted messages of shock and condolences from foreign leaders, many of whom worked with Abe during the former Prime Minister’s long tenure.

“His global leadership through unchartered times will be remembered by many,” wrote British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a tweet. “My thoughts are with his family, friends and the Japanese people. The UK stands with you at this dark and sad time.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan also tweeted his condolences, calling the shooting “an attack on democracy” and “a shameful act of cowardice to silence a political leader.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that as a mark of “our deepest respect,” India will hold a day of national mourning on Saturday. Abe was “a towering global statesman, an outstanding leader, and a remarkable administrator,” said Modi, adding that his relationship with Abe “goes back many years.”

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Abe had been a “great friend and ally to Australia,” and told the people of Japan, “We mourn with you.”

European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called Abe “a wonderful person,” adding: “This brutal and cowardly murder of Shinzo Abe shocks the whole world.”