TOKYO — Shinzo Abe, the former prime minister of Japan, collapsed and was left unconscious after he was apparently shot on Friday while giving a speech in western Japan, according to a fire official.
Mr. Abe, 67, appeared to be bleeding after a gunshot was heard in the city of Nara near Kyoto, according to a reporter for NHK, the public broadcaster. Reports said Mr. Abe had been shot either in the chest or the neck.
The police arrested a suspect, Tetsuya Yamagami, 42, according to NHK. The man was a Nara resident, the report said. Images shared on social media showed a man being tackled after the shooting near Yamatosaidaiji Station.
The chief cabinet secretary said the police had retrieved a gun.
Seigo Yasuhara, an official in the command center at the Nara Fire Department, said that Mr. Abe was under cardiopulmonary arrest and that he had been taken by an ambulance to a medical evacuation helicopter. He was then transported to Nara Medical University Hospital, the Nara Fire Department said.
Mr. Abe was unconscious and showing no vital signs, Mr. Yasuhara said.
Mr. Abe was the country’s longest-serving prime minister and served two terms, from 2006 to 2007 and 2012 to 2020. He resigned in 2020 because of ill health.
The former prime minister was in Nara campaigning ahead of elections for the Upper House of Parliament scheduled for Sunday. Mr. Abe was giving a campaign speech on behalf of Kei Sato, 43, a current member of the Upper House running for re-election in Nara, when he was shot.
Fumio Kishida, the current prime minister, was on the campaign trail in Yamagata Prefecture and was to return to Tokyo, where he was expected to speak to the news media.
Hirokazu Matsuno, chief cabinet secretary to Prime Minister Kishida, said that a crisis management center had been set up in the prime minister’s office.
Rahm Emanuel, the American ambassador to Japan, said in a post on Twitter: “We are all saddened and shocked,” adding: “Abe-san has been an outstanding leader of Japan and unwavering ally of the U.S. The U.S. Government and American people are praying for the well-being of Abe-san, his family, & people of Japan.”