Bodyguards could have saved former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe if they had shielded him or removed him from the line of fire in the 2.5 seconds between a missed first shot and a second round of gunfire that fatally wounded him, according to eight security experts who reviewed footage of his assassination.

The failure to protect Abe from the second shot followed what appeared to be a series of security lapses in the lead-up to the assassination of Japan's longest-serving prime minister on July 8, the Japanese and international experts said.

Abe's killing in the city of Nara by a man using a homemade weapon shocked a nation where gun violence is rare and politicians campaign up close to the public with light security.