Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot at an event in the city of Nara and taken to hospital.

According to some reports, his alleged attacker was arrested.

Former Tokyo governor Yoichi Masuzoe said in a tweet that Abe, 67, is in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest.

The term in Japan is often used before a death is officially confirmed.

"Whatever the reason, such a barbaric act can never be tolerated and we strongly condemn it," said Japanese Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno.

Abe was giving a speech for an election candidate in Nara when the attack happened, REL writes.

View after the attack on the former Japanese prime minister / Photo: Getty Images

Abe has broken records as Japan's longest-serving prime minister.

He served for one year in 2006 and then again from 2012 to 2020. However, he resigned due to health reasons.

He later discovered that his ulcerative colitis - an intestinal disease - had returned.

Abe was succeeded by his close party ally, Yoshihide Suga, who was later replaced by Fumio Kishida.

Firearm incidents are rare in Japan.

Handguns are prohibited there.

The rise to power

Nicknamed "Prince", Shinzo Abe is the son of former Foreign Minister Shintaro Abe and the grandson of former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi.

He was first elected to Parliament in 1993, while in 2005 he became a member of the cabinet, being appointed chief secretary by the then prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi.

In 2006, Abe became Japan's youngest post-war prime minister.

However, a series of scandals – including the loss of government pension data – have dogged his administration.

In September 2007, he resigned due to ulcerative colitis.

Abe returned as prime minister in 2012, saying he overcame the disease with the help of medication.

He was subsequently re-elected in 2014 and 2017, becoming Japan's longest-serving prime minister.

Abe's popularity has fluctuated, but he has remained largely unchallenged as prime minister because of influence in his LDP party, which has changed its rules to allow him to serve a third term as party leader. .

A controversial nationalist

Abe is known for his tough stance on defense and foreign policy.

He has long sought to change Japan's postwar pacifist Constitution.

His nationalist views have often raised tensions with China and South Korea, particularly after his visit – in 2013 – to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine.

This is a controversial location associated with Japanese militarism before and during World War II.

In 2015, he invoked the right of collective self-defense, allowing Japan to mobilize troops overseas to defend itself and allies under attack.

Despite objections from Japan's neighbors and even from the local public, the Japanese Parliament has approved this change.

Dealing with the economy and the COVID-19 pandemic

Abe is also known as "Abenomics" - a reference to his economic policy, built on monetary easing, fiscal stimulus and structural reforms.

These measures led to economic growth during his first term, but subsequent slowdowns have raised questions about their effectiveness.

His efforts to revive the economy have faced challenges as Japan entered recession in the spring of 2020 for the first time since 2015.

His popularity has taken a further hit, following criticism of his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There have been concerns that campaigns to promote domestic tourism have contributed to the increase in the number of cases of this disease.