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.