Shinzo Abe’s body has been returned to the Japanese capital after the former prime minister was assassinated during a campaign speech.

Mr. Abe, 67, was shot twice in the back during a speech at a campaign rally in the city of Nara – the first assassination of a current or former prime minister of Japan since the 1930s.

He suffered two deep neck wounds that damaged an artery and died five and a half hours after the morning attack.

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Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Police said Yamagami Tetsuya, 41, who was apprehended and arrested minutes after the incident, admitted to shooting Mr Abe with a homemade gun.

According to a report in The Japan Times, Tetsuya originally planned to attack the leader of a religious group, and police said he had a grudge against “a specific organization” that he believed was linked to Mr. Abe.

Tetsuya was reportedly an unemployed factory worker who was also a member of Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force.

The man, who is considered a suspect, has been detained by the police.  Photo: Yomiuri Shimbun via Reuters
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The man, who is considered a suspect, has been detained by the police. Photo: Yomiuri Shimbun via Reuters
LDP representatives pray in front of a car believed to be carrying the body of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
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Officials pray next to a car believed to be carrying the body of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

A steady stream of mourners attended the scene in Nara on Saturday as the motorcade believed to be carrying Mr Abe’s body left the hospital.

The motorcade, which also included Mr. Abe’s wife Akiye, left a hospital in Kashihara, Nara Prefecture, shortly before 6 a.m. and local media said it was heading to his residence in Tokyo.

People pray at a makeshift memorial near the site of the execution of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.  Photo: AP
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Photo: AP

An overnight vigil will be held on Monday and Mr Abe’s funeral will be held on Tuesday, attended by close friends, Japanese media reported.

No plans for a public memorial service have been announced.

Chinese President Xi Jinping was the latest in a long line of world leaders to send condolences on Saturday following Mr Abe’s death.

The leaders of the USA, Great Britain, South Korea, and Brazil were also honored. Israel, Canada, France, Australia, Ukraine, Russia and New Zealand, among others.

Meanwhile, campaigning resumed on the last day of the election before voting in the upper house of parliament.

The election is expected to deliver a victory for the ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, with the Liberal Democratic Party, where Mr Abe has retained considerable influence, picking up seats.

https://news.sky.com/story/shinzo-abes-body-taken-back-to-tokyo-after-suspected-gunman-admits-killing-former-japanese-pm-12648567

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