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Abe’s body arrives in Tokyo as country mourns ex-PM’s death

TOKYO (AP) – The body of Japan’s former prime minister Shinzo Abe was returned to Tokyo yesterday after he was fatally shot during a campaign speech in western Japan a day earlier.

Abe was attacked in the city of Nara and airlifted to a local hospital but died of blood loss despite emergency treatment including massive blood transfusions.

Police arrested the attacker, a former member of Japan’s navy, at the scene on suspicion of murder. Police confiscated the homemade gun he used, and several others were later found at his apartment.

The attacker told investigators he plotted the shooting because he believed rumours that Abe was connected to an organisation that he resents, according to police.

Japanese media reported that the man had developed hatred towards a religious group his mother was devoted to. The reports did not specify the group.

A black hearse carrying Abe’s body and accompanied by his wife, Akie, arrived at his home in Tokyo’s upscale residential area of Shibuya, where many mourners waited and lowered their heads as the vehicle passed.

People pay respects at a makeshift memorial at the scene where the former prime minister Shinzo Abe was shot in Nara. PHOTO: AP