At least two shots appeared to be fired, each producing a cloud of smoke. As spectators and reporters ducked, he was tackled to the ground by security.
A large bang
“The first shot sounded like a toy bazooka,” a woman at the scene told NHK.
“He didn’t fall and there was a large bang. The second shot was more visible, you could see the spark and smoke.”
By Friday night, a steady stream of mourners came to lay flowers and pray for their former leader, a man who was Japan’s longest-serving prime minister and easily the country’s most recognizable politician.
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“I just couldn’t sit back and do nothing. I had to come,” said Nara resident Sachie Nagafuji, 54, visiting the scene with his son.
Officials said there had been no threats made against Abe, who was stumping for his ruling Liberal Democratic Party when he was shot.
The LDP and other parties said they would resume campaigning Saturday ahead of Sunday’s vote, in which they and coalition partner Komeito are expected to cement their majority in parliament.
Abe was the scion of a political family and became the country’s youngest post-war prime minister when he took power for the first time in 2006, aged 52.