NATIONAL

A day of tragedy and loss in Japan

Shinzo Abe steps up to speak to the crowd at an LDP rally ahead of the Upper House election on Sunday. His attacker, Tetsuya Yamagami (second from right), stands at a distance behind him. | KYODO
Shinzo Abe steps up to speak to the crowd at an LDP rally ahead of the Upper House election on Sunday. His attacker, Tetsuya Yamagami (second from right), stands at a distance behind him. | KYODO

The initial news, arriving piecemeal, was confusing, almost too shocking to believe: Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — Japan’s longest-running leader — had fallen. Blood was seen on his chest. Gunfire had been heard.

Had the influential lawmaker actually been shot while stumping for a fellow LDP member? How did the shooter acquire a gun in a country that has such strict controls on firearms?

As doctors attended to Abe at a Nara hospital, administering a blood transfusion, details about the assailant trickled in, but the public was still struggling to make sense of the emerging photos and videos, the reports and the rumors.

Just after 5 o’clock, the news was officially announced: Shinzo Abe had died, at age 67, from wounds to his back, neck and heart.

Here are a few moments from a sad and surreal day that few in Japan are likely forget.

Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lies on the ground after being shot in the city of Nara on Friday. | KYODO
Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lies on the ground after being shot in the city of Nara on Friday. | KYODO

The site where Shinzo Abe was shot from behind by a man wielding a modified gun. | KYODO
The site where Shinzo Abe was shot from behind by a man wielding a modified gun. | KYODO

Investigators in protective gear walk toward the home of the shooter Tetsuya Yamagami. | KYODO
Investigators in protective gear walk toward the home of the shooter, Tetsuya Yamagami. | KYODO

Shinzo Abe, not long after he was shot while campaigning for the LDP, is transported by medical helicopter to a nearby hospital. | KYODO
Shinzo Abe, not long after he was shot while campaigning for the LDP, is transported by medical helicopter to a nearby hospital. | KYODO

Passersby in Shinjuku, Tokyo, view news of the shooting of Shinzo Abe on Friday. | BLOOMBERG
Passersby in Shinjuku, Tokyo, view news of the shooting of Shinzo Abe on Friday. | BLOOMBERG

A large video screen shows news broadcast featuring an image of Abe in Beijing on Friday. | AFP-JIJI
A large video screen shows news broadcast featuring an image of Abe in Beijing on Friday. | AFP-JIJI

A special edition of the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reporting Abe's death is distributed in Tokyo. | REUTERS
A special edition of the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reporting Abe’s death is distributed in Tokyo. | REUTERS

Pedestrians in Tokyo watch a news broadcast about the assassination of Abe on Friday. | BLOOMBERG
Pedestrians in Tokyo watch a news broadcast about the assassination of Abe on Friday. | BLOOMBERG

Artists display a memorial painting of Abe, outside an art school in Mumbai on Friday. | REUTERS
Artists display a memorial painting of Abe, outside an art school in Mumbai on Friday. | REUTERS

A woman prays at the site were Abe was shot while campaigning for the upcoming upper house election. | REUTERS
A woman prays at the site were Abe was shot while campaigning for the upcoming upper house election. | REUTERS

A poster of Shinzo Abe in his electoral district, Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture. | KYODO
A poster of Shinzo Abe in his electoral district, Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture. | KYODO

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks to the media Friday evening, following the death of Shinzo Abe. | KYODO
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks to the media Friday evening, following the death of Shinzo Abe. | KYODO

A man prays on Friday evening near Yamato-Saidaiji Station in Nara where Abe was shot earlier in the day. | AFP-JIJI
A man prays on Friday evening near Yamato-Saidaiji Station in Nara where Abe was shot earlier in the day. | AFP-JIJI