THIS is the horrifying moment former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was shot twice before the gunman was tackled.
Disturbing footage shows the 67-year-old politician delivering a speech before there are two hugely loud bangs as the shooter opens fire.
Chaos ensues as the person behind the camera lens scrambles on the ground, but then manages to return to the footage to focus.
It then shows the suspected shooter – who is understood to have been wielding a homemade gun – being tackled by three security officers.
The alleged gunman is brought down and one the men in a black suit and face masks pins him down.
Another man then bundles on top of the suspected assassin as they detain him.
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Other angles of the shooting show two huge plumes of smoke erupt as the shots are fired at Abe while he speaks outside a train station in Nara, Japan.
People turn around in shock and immediately run to help the fallen former Prime Minister.
And further video shows the suspected shooter milling in the crowd before he raises the double-barrelled weapon to fire.
Abe was shot twice – with wounds to his neck and collarbone – and is understood to be fighting for his life.
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The suspect has been named as Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, from Nara, as the horrifying act of violence has shocked the world.
Fuji TV reports that the suspect is a former member of the Maritime Self-Defence Force for three years until 2005.
Close-ups of the gun appear to show two pipes strapped to a piece of wood by thick black tape.
National broadcaster NHK aired footage showing Abe collapsing and clutching his blood-smeared chest as several security guards ran toward him.
Fumio Kishida, Abe's replacement as prime minister, was rushed to his office by helicopter for emergency talks with officials.
What we know so far…
- Japan's former prime minister Shinzo Abe is in a "critical condition" after being shot in an assassination attempt
- The 67-year-old was giving a speech in the western Japanese city of Nara when he was shot twice from behind in the chest and neck
- Video shows Abe go down clutching his chest after two loud bangs
- A 41-year-old armed forces veteran, Yamagami Tetsuya, was arrested with a homemade shotgun
- The motive for the shooting is so far unknown
- Japan's prime minister says Abe is in a critical condition and described the shooting as a "heinous act"
Addressing the media, he said Abe is in a critical condition, describing the shooting as a "heinous act".
"Currently doctors are doing everything they can at this moment," he said. "I am hoping and praying that former prime minister Abe will survive this."
He added that the reasons for the "barbaric" shooting were not clear at this moment.
Abe was giving a speech at a campaign event ahead of Sunday’s election for the parliament’s upper house when the shots rang out.
His security team were around him, but the gunman was able to draw his weapon and shoot the former statesman at close range "without being checked".
Abe's scheduled speech was publicised on Thursday.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said of the arrest: “A barbaric act like this is absolutely unforgivable, no matter what the reasons are, and we condemn it strongly."
Japan has some of the strictest gun laws in developed nations, so shootings are rare.
Boris Johnson was among those to express their shock at the events in Japan.
"Utterly appalled and saddened to hear about the despicable attack on Shinzo Abe," he tweeted. "My thoughts are with his family and loved ones."
Former US president Donald Trump also responded to the news, describing Abe as "a truly great man" and "a true friend of mine" on his social media platform 'Truth Social'.
The US ambassador to Japan wrote a heartbreaking tribute to the ex-prime minister.
"We are all saddened and shocked by the shooting of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo," said Rahm Emanuel.
"Abe-san has been an outstanding leader of Japan and unwavering ally of the US the US Government and American people are praying for the well-being of Abe-san, his family, & people of Japan."
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also spoke of his horror at the attempted assassination.
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"Our thoughts, our prayers are with him, with his family, with the people of Japan," he said, speaking from the G20 summit in Bali.
"This is a very, very sad moment. And we're awaiting news from Japan."
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